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Biochem J. 1988 Dec 15;256(3):1043-6.

Protein-sequence studies on Rh-related polypeptides suggest the presence of at least two groups of proteins which associate in the human red-cell membrane.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, School of Medical Sciences, University of Bristol, U.K.


The Rh D blood-group antigen forms part of a complex, involving several other polypeptides, that is deficient in the red cells of individuals who lack all the antigens of the Rh blood-group system (Rhnull red cells). These include components recognized by anti-(Rh D) antibodies and the murine monoclonal antibodies R6A and BRIC 125. We have carried out protein-sequence studies on the components immunoprecipitated by these antibodies. Anti-(Rh D) antibodies immunoprecipitate an Mr-30,000-32,000 polypeptide (the D30 polypeptide) and an Mr-45,000-100,000 glycoprotein (D50 polypeptide). Antibody R6A immunoprecipitates two glycoproteins of Mr 31,000-34,000 (R6A32 polypeptide) and Mr 35,000-52,000 (R6A45 polypeptide). The D30 and R6A32 polypeptides were found to have the same N-terminal amino acid sequences, showing that they are closely related proteins. The D50 polypeptide and the R6A45 polypeptide also had indistinguishable N-terminal amino acid sequences that differed from that of the D30 and R6A32 polypeptides. The putative N-terminal membrane-spanning segments of the two groups of proteins showed homology in their amino acid sequence, which may account for the association of each of the pairs of proteins during co-precipitation by the antibodies. Supplementary data related to the protein sequence have been deposited as Supplementary Publication SUP 50417 (6 pages) at the British Library Document Supply Centre, Boston Spa, Wetherby, West Yorkshire LS23 7BQ, U.K., from whom copies can be obtained on the terms indicated in Biochem. J. (1988) 249, 5.

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