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Antibodies against bovine interstitial retinol-binding protein (IRBP) and cellular retinal-binding protein (CRA1BP) were used in immunochemical and immunocytochemical studies of the pineal glands of cattle, hamsters and rats (RCS and RCS-rdy+). On immunoblots, IRBP (Mr 144,000) was identified in cattle, hamster and rat pineal extracts. The abundance of IRBP in bovine pineals was 33 +/- 6 (mean +/- SD, n = 12) soluble protein. RCS (Royal College of Surgeons) rat pineals gave a strong IRBP reaction on immunoblots, even when virtually no IRBP could be found in the eye due to photoreceptor degeneration. In the hamster retina IRBP immunostaining was distributed throughout the entire interphotoreceptor matrix and the outer segment layer. The pineal also showed strong IRBP-like immunostaining scattered uniformly throughout the gland. Other hamster brain regions showed no specific immunostaining; however, an immunoreactive protein with the same Mr as IRBP was detected on Western blots of bovine cerebral cortex, spinal cord and brainstem soluble proteins. Immunoreactive proteins at lower Mr were also detected in these tissues. CRA1BP immunoreactivity (Mr about 32,000) was observed in immunoblots of bovine, hamster and rat pineal proteins. These findings suggest that some mammalian pinealocytes are related to the retinal cells that contain CRA1BP (i.e. pigment epithelium, Muller cells) while others are related to the photoreceptors, which synthesize IRBP.


Journal article


Vision Res

Publication Date





2049 - 2060


Animals, Brain Stem, Carrier Proteins, Cattle, Cerebral Cortex, Cricetinae, Immunoassay, Photoreceptor Cells, Pineal Gland, Rats, Rats, Inbred Strains, Retina, Retinaldehyde, Retinoids, Retinol-Binding Proteins, Spinal Cord