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The retinal proteins opsin, alpha-transducin, S-antigen and interstitial retinol-binding protein (IRBP) are essential for the processes of vision. By use of immunocytochemistry we have employed antibodies directed against these "photoreceptor proteins" in an attempt to identify the photoreceptor systems (retina, pineal and deep brain) of the Japanese quail. Opsin immunostaining was identified within many outer (basal portion) and inner segments of retinal photoreceptor cells and limited numbers of photoreceptor perikarya. Opsin immunostaining was also demonstrated in limited numbers of pinealocytes with all parts of these cells being immunoreactive. These results differ from previous observations. In contrast to the results obtained with the antibody against opsin, S-antigen and alpha-transducin immunostaining was seen throughout the entire outer segments and many photoreceptor perikarya of the retina, in the pineal organ immunostaining was seen in numerous pinealocytes in all follicles. These results conform to previous findings in birds. In addition, IRBP has been demonstrated for the first time in the avian retina and pineal organ. These findings underline the structural and functional similarities between the retina and pineal organ and provide additional support for a photoreceptive role of the avian pineal. No specific staining was detected in any other region of the brain in the Japanese quail; the hypothalamic photoreceptors of birds remain unidentified.


Journal article


Cell Tissue Res

Publication Date





161 - 167


Animals, Antigens, Arrestin, Autoantigens, Coturnix, Eye Proteins, Hypothalamus, Immune Sera, Immunoenzyme Techniques, Male, Membrane Proteins, Organ Specificity, Photoreceptor Cells, Pineal Gland, Retina, Retinol-Binding Proteins, Rod Opsins, Transducin