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J Biol Chem. 1992 Feb 25;267(6):4152-60.

Isolation of a novel human alpha (1,3)fucosyltransferase gene and molecular comparison to the human Lewis blood group alpha (1,3/1,4)fucosyltransferase gene. Syntenic, homologous, nonallelic genes encoding enzymes with distinct acceptor substrate specificities.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor 48109-0650.


Biochemical and genetic evidence indicates that the human genome may encode four or more distinct GDP-fucose:beta-D-N-acetylglucosaminide 3-alpha-L-fucosyltransferase (alpha(1,3)fucosyltransferase) activities. Genes encoding two of these activities have been previously isolated. These correspond to an alpha(1,3/1,4)fucosyltransferase thought to represent the human Lewis blood group locus and an alpha(1,3)fucosyltransferase expressed in the myeloid lineage. We report here the molecular cloning and expression of a third human alpha(1,3)fucosyltransferase gene, homologous to but distinct from the two previously reported human fucosyltransferase genes. When expressed in transfected mammalian cells, this gene determines expression of a fucosyltransferase capable of using N-acetyllactosamine to form the Lewis x epitope, and alpha(2,3)sialyl-N-acetyllactosamine to construct the sialyl Lewis x moiety. This enzyme shares 91% amino acid sequence identity with the human Lewis blood group alpha(1,3/1,4)fucosyltransferase, yet exhibits only trace amounts of alpha(1,4)fucosyltransferase activity. Polymerase chain reaction analyses were used to demonstrate that the gene is syntenic to the Lewis locus on chromosome 19. These analyses also excluded the possibility that this DNA segment represents an allele of the Lewis locus that encodes alpha(1,3)fucosyltransferase but not alpha(1,4)fucosyltransferase activity. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that this gene encodes the human "plasma type" alpha(1,3)fucosyltransferase, and suggest a molecular basis for a family of human alpha(1,3)fucosyltransferase genes.

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