RIBEYE, a component of synaptic ribbons: a protein's journey through evolution provides insight into synaptic ribbon function

Neuron. 2000 Dec;28(3):857-72. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(00)00159-8.


Photoreceptor cells utilize ribbon synapses to transmit sensory signals at high resolution. Ribbon synapses release neurotransmitters tonically, with a high release rate made possible by continuous docking of synaptic vesicles on presynaptic ribbons. We have partially purified synaptic ribbons from retina and identified a major protein component called RIBEYE. RIBEYE is composed of a unique A domain specific for ribbons, and a B domain identical with CtBP2, a transcriptional repressor that in turn is related to 2-hydroxyacid dehydrogenases. The A domain mediates assembly of RIBEYE into large structures, whereas the B domain binds NAD(+) with high affinity, similar to 2-hydroxyacid dehydrogenases. Our results define a unique component of synaptic ribbons and suggest that RIBEYE evolved in vertebrates under utilization of a preexisting protein to build a unique scaffold for a specialized synapse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases / genetics
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Co-Repressor Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Eye Proteins / genetics*
  • Eye Proteins / metabolism*
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • NAD / metabolism
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Organ Specificity
  • Organelles / genetics
  • Organelles / metabolism*
  • Phosphoproteins / genetics
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary / genetics
  • Rats
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Retina / chemistry
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Retina / ultrastructure
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Synaptic Membranes / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Membranes / ultrastructure
  • Transfection


  • Co-Repressor Proteins
  • Ctbp2 protein, rat
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Eye Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • NAD
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases
  • CTBP2 protein, human
  • 2-hydroxyacid dehydrogenase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF222711
  • GENBANK/AF222712
  • GENBANK/AF222713