Two prevalent h alleles in para-Bombay haplotypes among 250,000 Taiwanese

Ann Clin Lab Sci. 2004 Summer;34(3):314-8.


Alpha(1,2)-fucosyltransferase catalyzes the transfer of fucose to the C-2 position of galactose on type II precursor substrate Gal beta1-4GlcNAc beta1-R. It plays an important biological role in the formation of H antigen, a precursor oligosaccharide for both A and B antigens on red blood cells. Aberration of alpha(1,2)-fucosyltransferase activity by gene mutations results in decreased synthesis of H antigen, leading to the para-Bombay phenotype. In this study, we collected about 250,000 blood samples in Taiwan during 5 yr and identified the subjects with para-Bombay phenotype. Then we analyzed the sequence of the alpha(1,2)-fucosyltransferase gene by direct sequencing and gene cloning methods, using the blood samples of 30 para-Bombay individuals and 30 control subjects who were randomly selected. The goals of this study were to search for new h alleles, to determine the h allele frequencies, and to test whether the sporadic theory is applicable in Taiwan. Six different h alleles (ha, 547-548 AG-del; hb, 880-881 TT-del; hc, R220C; hd, R220H; he, F174L; and hf, N327T) were observed. Two h alleles, he and hf, were newly discovered in Taiwan. The he allele has a nucleotide 522C>A point mutation, predicting the amino acid 174 substitution of Phe to Leu; the hf allele has missense mutation of nucleotide 980A>C, predicting the amino acid 327 substitution of Asn to Thr. Frequencies of the 6 alleles are ha 46.67%, hb 38.33%, hc 5.00%, hd 1.67%, he 3.33%, and hf 5.00%, respectively. These findings in the Taiwanese population confirm previous observations in other populations that the Bombay and para-Bombay phenotypes are due to diverse, sporadic, nonfunctional alleles, predominantly ha and hb, leading to H deficiency of red blood cells. In contrast to previous reports of non-prevalent associations of h alleles with para-Bombay phenotype, our results suggest a regional allele preference associated with para-Bombay individuals in Taiwan.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ABO Blood-Group System / genetics*
  • Alleles*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Erythrocytes / enzymology
  • Erythrocytes / immunology
  • Fucosyltransferases / blood
  • Fucosyltransferases / deficiency
  • Fucosyltransferases / genetics*
  • Genetic Testing*
  • Humans
  • Phenotype
  • Point Mutation
  • Taiwan


  • ABO Blood-Group System
  • Fucosyltransferases
  • galactoside 2-alpha-L-fucosyltransferase