Two new alleles of the RHCE gene in Black individuals: the RHce allele ceMO and the RHcE allele cEMI

Br J Haematol. 2001 Jun;113(3):672-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2141.2001.02802.x.


Six unrelated individuals of Afro-Caribbean origin, whose red cells have a marked reduction of the Rhe antigen expression, have been identified. All exhibited the same serological profile with anti-e monoclonal antibodies and lacked expression of the high frequency e-related antigen hrS. Transcripts and genomic analysis showed that these phenotypes resulted from the presence of two new RHCE alleles, ceMO and cEMI. The ceMO allele corresponded to a RHce gene carrying a G667T mutation (exon 5) and was detected at the homozygous state in sample 1 and at the heterozygous state in samples 2-6. The G667T mutation resulted in a Val223Phe substitution on the Rhce polypeptide, in close proximity to Ala226 (e-antigen polymorphism), which might account for the altered expression of e. The ceMO allele is also associated with the lack of expression of the hrS antigen. The absence of the hrS antigen expression may have implications in transfusion as hrS-negative individuals may develop clinically significant antibodies. The cEMI allele corresponded to a silent RHE allele carrying a nine nucleotide deletion within exon 3 and was detected at the heterozygous state in sample 2. This deletion resulted in a shortened polypeptide of 414 residues (instead of 417) that was absent (or severely reduced) at the red cell surface, as the E antigen was undetectable using serology and Western blot analysis with anti-E reagents. In DNA-based polymerase chain reaction genotyping for RHE determination, the cEMI allele provided a false positive result as the cells carrying this allele are serologically phenotyped as E-negative. The incidence of this allele in the Black population is unknown but, as shown already for D genotyping, one must exercise caution when genotyping is performed to detect the e/E polymorphism.

MeSH terms

  • Africa / ethnology
  • Alleles
  • Black People
  • Black or African American*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Flow Cytometry
  • France
  • Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Isoantigens / analysis*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Rh-Hr Blood-Group System / genetics*
  • West Indies / ethnology


  • Glycoproteins
  • Isoantigens
  • RHCE protein, human
  • Rh-Hr Blood-Group System