A ribbon or riband is a thin band of material, typically cloth but also plastic or sometimes metal, used primarily as decorative binding and tying. Cloth ribbons are made of natural materials such as silk, cotton, and jute and of synthetic materials, such as polyester, nylon, and polypropylene. Ribbon is used for useful, ornamental, and symbolic purposes. Cultures around the world use ribbon in their hair, around the body, and as ornament on non-human animals, buildings, and packaging. Some popular fabrics used to make ribbons are satin, organza, sheer, silk, velvet, and grosgrain.
Exquisitely precise synapse formation is crucial for the mammalian CNS to function correctly. Retinal photoreceptors transfer information to bipolar and horizontal cells at a specialized synapse, the ribbon synapse. We identified pikachurin, an extracellular matrix-like retinal protein, and observed that it localized to the synaptic cleft in the photoreceptor ribbon synapse. Pikachurin null-mutant mice showed improper apposition of the bipolar cell dendritic tips to the photoreceptor ribbon synapses, resulting in alterations in synaptic signal transmission and visual function. Pikachurin colocalized with both dystrophin and dystroglycan at the ribbon synapses. Furthermore, we observed direct biochemical interactions between pikachurin and dystroglycan. Together, our results identify pikachurin as a dystroglycan-interacting protein and demonstrate that it has an essential role in the precise interactions between the photoreceptor ribbon synapse and the bipolar dendrites. This may also advance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the retinal electrophysiological abnormalities observed in muscular dystrophy patients.