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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Localization of hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase in the mammalian pineal gland and retina.

The pineal hormone, melatonin, has been reported to be synthesized in the retina by the enzyme, hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase (HIOMT). Several laboratories have suggested that melatonin may be involved in photoreceptor outer segment disc shedding, photomechanical movements, and neuromodulation, but the cellular location of the retinal synthesizing enzymes has not been determined yet. Antiserum to HIOMT was obtained from rabbits immunized with bovine pineal extract. The monospecific immunoglobulins to HIOMT were isolated by positive-negative selection using pineal extract-sepharose and brain extract-sepharose affinity chromatography. The purity and specificity of the antibody to HIOMT was confirmed by immunodiffusion, electroblot immunolabeling, SDS-PAGE, and immunoprecipitin titration. Using the peroxidase-antiperoxidase (PAP) technique, HIOMT was localized in the pinealocytes of bovine and human pineal glands obtained during the light period. Rat pineal glands obtained during the dark period exhibited HIOMT immunoreactivity, whereas rat pineal glands obtained during the light period did not. Some pinealocytes of the bovine pineal did not exhibit HIOMT immunoreactivity, suggesting that not all pinealocytes are actively involved in melatonin synthesis. HIOMT was localized in the photoreceptors of bovine, rat, and human retinas, and some labeling also was observed in the inner retina, although the latter showed some species variation. This observation supports the hypothesis that photoreceptors are capable of melatonin synthesis.[1]


  1. Localization of hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase in the mammalian pineal gland and retina. Wiechmann, A.F., Bok, D., Horwitz, J. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. (1985) [Pubmed]
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