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Blood. 1993 Nov 1;82(9):2915-9.

Analysis of Lewis fucosyltransferase genes from the human gastric mucosa of Lewis-positive and -negative individuals.

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Department of Legal Medicine, School of Medicine, Kurume University, Japan.


The expression of Lewis fucosyltransferase (FT) mRNA was examined in gastric mucosa from two Lewis-positive [Le(+)] and two Lewis-negative [Le(-)] individuals. Northern blot analysis demonstrated that levels of mRNA were similar in both Le(+) and Le(-) gastric mucosa. We isolated the protein-coding region of the Lewis FT cDNA from Le(+) and Le(-) gastric mucosa by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification. The sequence of cDNA from the Le(-) gastric mucosa shows two single-base substitutions of G for T at position 59 and of A for G at position 508 from the A of the initiation codon of cDNA. These substitutions may be the cause of changes in two amino acid residues, Arg for Leu at position 20 and Ser for Gly at position 170 from the N-terminal. To determine whether either or both of these base substitutions is responsible for the Le(-) gene, we constructed chimera cDNAs and expressed them in COS cells. Those COS cells transfected with a chimera cDNA containing a mutation of the 508th nucleotide did not express Lewis antigen, whereas those cells transfected with a chimera cDNA containing the 59th nucleotide mutation expressed Lewis antigen, indicating that a single-base change from G to A at position 508 is responsible for the Le(-) gene. The G to A transition at position 508 created a new site for PvuII endonuclease. The digestion by PvuII endonuclease of PCR products between the 386th and 612th nucleotides of Lewis FT cDNA from one of the Le(-) individuals proved to be homozygous for the PvuII site. However, the other Le(-) individual was heterozygous for the PvuII site, suggesting the presence of other Le(-) allele(s). Thus, we isolated one of the silent Lewis genes (le).

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