Interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein (IRBP), a major 124 kDa glycoprotein in the interphotoreceptor matrix of Xenopus laevis. Characterization, molecular cloning and biosynthesis

J Cell Sci. 1993 May:105 ( Pt 1):7-21. doi: 10.1242/jcs.105.1.7.


We have demonstrated that the neural retina of Xenopus laevis secretes into the extracellular matrix surrounding the inner and outer segments of its photoreceptors a glycoprotein containing hydrophobic domains conserved in mammalian interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding proteins (IRBPs). The soluble extract of the interphotoreceptor matrix contains a 124 kDa protein that cross-reacts with anti-bovine IRBP immunoglobulins. In vitro [3H]fucose incorporation studies combined with in vivo light and electron microscopic autoradiographic analysis, showed that the IRBP-like glycoprotein is synthesized by the neural retina and secreted into the interphotoreceptor matrix. A 1.2 kb Xenopus IRBP cDNA was isolated by screening a stage 42 (swimming tadpole) lambda Zap II library with a human IRBP cDNA under low-stringency conditions. The cDNA hybridizes with a 4.2 kb mRNA in adult Xenopus neural retina, tadpole heads as well as a less-abundant mRNA of the same size in brain. During development, IRBP and opsin mRNA expression correlates with photoreceptor differentiation. The translated amino acid sequence of the Xenopus IRBP clone has an overall 70% identity with the fourth repeat of the human protein. Sequence alignment with the four repeats of human IRBP showed three highly conserved regions, rich in hydrophobic residues. This focal conservation predicts domains important to the protein's function, which presumably is to facilitate the exchange of 11-cis retinal and all-trans retinol between the pigment epithelium and photoreceptors, and to the transport of fatty acids through the hydrophilic interphotoreceptor matrix.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Extracellular Matrix / chemistry
  • Eye Proteins*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Retina / ultrastructure
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins / chemistry*
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Xenopus laevis / genetics
  • Xenopus laevis / metabolism


  • Eye Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins
  • interstitial retinol-binding protein

Associated data

  • GENBANK/X69469