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J Biol Chem. 2000 Aug 18;275(33):25641-51.

Characterization of human RhCG and mouse Rhcg as novel nonerythroid Rh glycoprotein homologues predominantly expressed in kidney and testis.

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  • 1Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute, New York Blood Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.


In mammals, the Rh family includes the variable Rh polypeptides and invariant RhAG glycoprotein. These polytopic proteins are confined to the erythroid lineage and are assembled into a multisubunit complex essential for Rh antigen expression and plasma membrane integrity. Here, we report the characterization of RhCG and Rhcg, a pair of novel Rh homologues present in human and mouse nonerythroid tissues. Despite sharing a notable similarity to the erythroid forms, including the 12-transmembrane topological fold, the RHCG/Rhcg pair is distinct in chromosome location, genomic organization, promoter structure, and tissue-specific expression. RHCG and Rhcg map at 15q25 of human chromosome 15 and the long arm of mouse chromosome 7, respectively, each having 11 exons and a CpG-rich promoter. Northern blots detected kidney and testis as the major organs of RHCG or Rhcg expression. In situ hybridization revealed strong expression of Rhcg in the kidney collecting tubules and testis seminiferous tubules. Confocal imaging of transiently expressed green fluorescence protein fusion proteins localized RhCG exclusively to the plasma membrane, a distribution confirmed by cellular fractionation and Western blot analysis. In vitro translation and ex vivo expression showed that RhCG carries a complex N-glycan, probably at the (48)NLS(50) sequon of exoloop 1. These results pinpoint RhCG and Rhcg as novel polytopic membrane glycoproteins that may function as epithelial transporters maintaining normal homeostatic conditions in kidney and testis.

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