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Autoimmun Rev. 2008 Jun;7(6):457-62. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2008.03.017. Epub 2008 Apr 21.

Naturally occurring anti-band 3 antibodies and red blood cell removal under physiological and pathological conditions.

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Department of Genetics, Biology and Biochemistry, University of Torino, Italy.


Naturally occurring antibodies (NAbs) directed to band 3 protein (major erythrocyte membrane protein) are involved in the clearance of red blood cell (RBC) at the end of their lifespan as well as in the removal of RBC in different hereditary haemolytic disorders and in malaria. In all cited situations RBC undergoes oxidative stress and hemichromes (haemoglobin degradation products) are formed. Hemichromes possess a strong affinity for band 3 cytoplasmic domain and, following their binding, lead to band 3 oxidation and clusterisation. Those band 3 clusters show increased affinity for NAbs which activate complement and finally trigger the phagocytosis of altered RBC. During intra-erythrocytic malaria parasite growth, NAbs begin to bind to RBC surface at early parasite development stages increasing their abundance in parallel with parasite development. Interestingly, a number of hereditary haemolytic disorders, known to exert a protective effect on malaria, tend to exacerbate this phenomenon leading to a more precocious and effective opsonization of diseased RBC infected by malaria parasites. The exact definition of band 3 neo-antigens and the mechanism of their surface exposure are still unclear. Also band 3 clusterisation is only superficially understood, new insights about band 3 phosphorylation by Src kinases suggest the presence of a complex regulatory pathway.

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