Stenkamp D.L., Cunningham, L.L., Raymond, P.A., and Gonzalez-Fernandez, F. (1998) Novel expression pattern of interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein (IRBP) in the adult and developing zebrafish retina and RPE. Molecular Vision. 4:26.
PURPOSE: Interactions between the neural retina and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) are mediated by the interphotoreceptor matrix (IPM). The transport of retinoids across the IPM is mediated by interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein (IRBP). To explore the possibility that IRBP is important during retinal development, we examined its spatiotemporal expression pattern in embryonic zebrafish. METHODS: IRBP mRNA expression was examined using RT-PCR and in situ hybridization. IRBP was localized using antiserum against recombinant zebrafish IRBP. IRBP synthesis and secretion were studied by in vitro metabolic labeling of retinas and RPE-eyecups. RESULTS: IRBP mRNA was first observed in the pineal at 24 hours post-fertilization (hpf) and in the ventral retina at 50 hpf. Immunoreactive IRBP was first observed at 72 hpf. Remarkably, IRBP was expressed not only by photoreceptors but also by the adult and embryonic RPE. In embryos, expression in both retina and RPE began in a ventronasal patch and spread to involve the entire eye. In general, early IRBP expression was dominated by photoreceptors, but then RPE expression spread beyond the limit of photoreceptor expression. Double in situ hybridizations suggests that cones express IRBP mRNA before they express a specific opsin, while rods may express rod opsin prior to IRBP. CONCLUSIONS: The temporal and spatial patterns of IRBP expression by the RPE and retina are consistent with a role in retinal development and suggest coordination of RPE and photoreceptor differentiation.