We report the immunohistochemical localization of protein kinase C isozymes (types I, II, and III) in the rabbit retina using the monospecific monoclonal antibodies MC-1a, MC-2a, and MC-3a. Using immunoblot analysis of partially purified protein kinase C preparations of rabbit retina, types II and III isozymes alone were detected. The activity of type III was the stronger. By light microscopic immunohistochemical analysis, retinal neurons were negative for type I and positive for type II and type III isozymes. Type II was more diffusely distributed through the retinal layers, but was distinctive in ganglion cells, bipolar cells, and outer segments. The immunoreactivity was stronger for type III isozyme, and it was observed in mop (rod) bipolar cells and amacrine cells. By using immunoelectron microscopy, the cytoplasm of the cell body, the axon, and dendrites of the mop bipolar cells were strongly immunoreactive for type III. The so-called rod bipolar cells were for the first time seen to form synapses with rod photoreceptor cells. These differential localizations of respective isozymes in retinal neurons suggest that each isozyme has a different site of function in each neuron.

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