Abstract Rab proteins of the small G-protein superfamily are known to be involved in intracellular vesicle transport. Here, we describe the unique characteristics of a novel Rab protein, RABRP1 (Rab-Related Protein 1). The Drosophila RabRP1 gene is mainly transcribed in the eyes and testes, where the 3-kb and 1.5-kb mRNAs, respectively, are the predominant gene products. The amino-acid sequence deduced from the longer cDNA indicated that the C-terminal 1/3 of the sequence shares homology with Rab proteins, whereas the rest of the peptide shows no significant homology with any other proteins. Immunoblot analysis using antiserum against the Rab-domain indicated that the multiple translates (94 k, 53 k, 30 k, 29 k and 27 k) were expressed in the eyes. In contrast, only smaller peptides (30 k, 29 k and 27 k) were identified in the testes. Molecular phylogenetic analysis revealed that RABRP1 forms a subgroup with Dictiostelium RabE and mammalian Rab29, Rab32, Rab38 proteins, whose functions have not been identified yet. RABRP1 and its relatives were characterized by the amino acid substitution occurring in the conserved GTP-binding motifs. Immunohistochemical studies demonstrated that RABRP1 was localized on the subrhabdomeric cisternae of photoreceptor cells and on the pigment granules in photoreceptor and pigment cells in the retina. The expression of the dominant negative RABRP1 caused the abnormal accumulation of autophagosome-like vesicles. These data suggest that RABRP1 is involved in the lysosomal vesicle transport pathway, including the biogenesis or degradation of pigment granules.