Distribution of interstitial retinol-binding protein (IRBP) in the vertebrates

J Exp Zool. 1986 Sep;239(3):335-46. doi: 10.1002/jez.1402390305.


Immunoblots of interphotoreceptor matrix preparations from 20 species belonging to six vertebrate classes were probed with antibodies against bovine interstitial retinol-binding protein (b-IRBP). Each preparation displayed an immunoreactive protein band. In the Osteichthyes, the apparent Mr of this band was 67,600 +/- 2,700 (mean +/- SD, n = 8). In two of the Osteichthyes, the band was resolved into a closely spaced doublet. Including previously published data for five mammals and one amphibian, species from the other classes (Chondrichthyes, one species; Amphibia, four species; Reptilia, one species; Aves, one species; Mammalia, nine species) had IRBPs with Mr that averaged 2.0 times that of the Osteichthyes, namely 134,200 +/- 8,600 (mean +/- SD, n = 17). Frog IRBP was very similar to mammalian IRBP in terms of its immunohistochemical distribution (determined with rabbit anti-frog IRBP antibodies), its molecular weight (sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and gel-filtration chromatography), retinol- and concanavalin A-binding ability, and because it was synthesized and secreted in vitro by the isolated retina but not by the pigmented layers of eye. Goldfish IRBP apparently binds exogenous (3H)-retinol but does not bind concanavalin A and has about half the Mr of frog IRBP. The occurrence of IRBP-like proteins cross-reacting with anti b-IRBP antibodies in the interphotoreceptor matrix of all six major vertebrate classes is consistent with the hypothesis that IRBP is an important element in the vertebrate visual cycle.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Chickens
  • Fishes
  • Goldfish
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Humans
  • Immunodiffusion
  • Light
  • Ocular Physiological Phenomena
  • Photoreceptor Cells / cytology
  • Rabbits
  • Raccoons
  • Rana pipiens
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins / analysis*
  • Saimiri
  • Species Specificity
  • Turtles
  • Urodela


  • Retinol-Binding Proteins