The anterior surface of the eye functions as a barrier to the external environment and protects the delicate underlying tissues from injury. Central to this protection are the corneal, limbal and conjunctival epithelia. The corneal epithelium is a self-renewing stratified squamous epithelium that protects the underlying delicate structures of the eye, supports a tear film and maintains transparency so that light can be transmitted to the interior of the eye (Basu et al., 2014; Cotsarelis et al., 1989; Funderburgh et al., 2016; Lehrer et al., 1998; Pajoohesh-Ganji and Stepp, 2005; Parfitt et al., 2015; Peng et al., 2012b; Stepp and Zieske, 2005). In this review, dedicated to James Funderburgh and his contributions to visual science, in particular the limbal niche, corneal stroma and corneal stromal stem cells, we will focus on recent data on the identification of novel regulators in corneal epithelial cell biology, their roles in stem cell homeostasis, wound healing, limbal/corneal boundary maintenance and the utility of single cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) in vision biology studies.
- Limbal epithelial stem cells
- Limbal/corneal epithelial boundary
- Single cell RNAseq
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience