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Trends Mol Med. 2001 Mar;7(3):94-6.

A new chapter in Rh research: Rh proteins are ammonium transporters.

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Centre for Research in Biomedicine, University of the West of England, Bristol, Coldharbour Lane, Frenchay, Bristol, UK BS16 6DT.


Occasionally, an original research paper has an unusually significant impact on a particular research field. Such a paper, published recently in Nature Genetics, describes the uncovering of the functional role of the Rh protein family--the proteins that express the Rh blood group antigens. Marini et al. (1) demonstrate how two human Rh glycoproteins can correct ammonium transport deficiency in mutant yeast cells. Rh proteins are therefore ammonium transporters--a role that, in vertebrates, has remained previously uncharacterized. These data herald a new era in Rh protein research, beyond their role as blood group antigens, and into the characterization of ammonium transport mechanisms, notably in the kidney.

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