A synaptic antigen (B16) is localized in retinal synaptic ribbons

J Comp Neurol. 1991 Oct 22;312(4):573-83. doi: 10.1002/cne.903120408.


This morphological and biochemical study examines the cytoplasmic synaptic determinant recognized by a monoclonal antibody (B16). This antibody was generated by using an immunosuppression protocol that generates antibodies to relatively rare antigens. The B16 antibody labels structures in the brain that are dot-shaped and in the retina that resemble synaptic ribbons in their location, size, developmental emergence, and biochemical composition. The antigen is apparently conserved across species as it is found in retinas from lizards, frogs, fish, birds, mice, rats, rabbits, cats, and monkeys. This paper focuses on observations in the murine retina. Labeling in the outer plexiform layer of the retina is confined to the margin between the outer plexiform layer (OPL) and the outer nuclear layer. The labeled structure resembles a semiellipse or an arc with the open end facing the OPL and the top facing the outer nuclear layer. Overall, the arc is approximately 1 micron in length and less than 0.5 micron thick. Approximately 10% of the labeled arcs occur in a proximal stratum of the OPL and form a planar cluster that resembles a flat plaque parallel to the OPL. Five to ten arcs are found in each plaque. The arcs found within the plaques are approximately 50% smaller than the larger isolated arcs. Counterstaining with peanut agglutinin (PNA), a lectin that recognizes cone photoreceptors and their associated processes, demonstrates that the plaques are associated with the cone pedicles. Animals that have a higher ratio of cones/rods than mice demonstrate a much higher ratio of plaques/isolated arcs in the OPL. The structure labeled in the inner plexiform layer resembles a short bar (0.8 micron long by less than 0.5 micron wide) that is confined to the inner half of the inner plexiform layer in mice. The relative mobility (Mr) of the B16 antigen obtained from mouse retinal and brain tissue is 88 kD, as determined by SDS-PAGE followed by Western blotting. The mouse 88 kD protein is relatively soluble (precipitates at 70% ammonium sulphate) and elutes at a pH of 7.3 from an isoelectric focusing column. It appears that the determinant recognized by the B16 antibody is a previously undescribed synaptic protein that is associated with the synaptic ribbons in photoreceptor and bipolar terminals of most vertebrate retinas.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ambystoma
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens / analysis*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cats
  • Chick Embryo
  • Chickens
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Goldfish
  • Isoelectric Focusing
  • Lectins / immunology
  • Lizards
  • Macaca
  • Mice
  • Peanut Agglutinin
  • Photoreceptor Cells / immunology
  • Rabbits
  • Rana pipiens
  • Rats
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / immunology*
  • Species Specificity
  • Synapses / immunology*
  • Synapsins / immunology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens
  • Lectins
  • Peanut Agglutinin
  • Synapsins