Identification and partial characterization of the human erythrocyte membrane component(s) that express the antigens of the LW blood-group system

Biochem J. 1986 Mar 15;234(3):649-52. doi: 10.1042/bj2340649.


Rhnull human erythrocytes lack the antigens of the Rhesus blood-group system, have an abnormal shape, have an increased osmotic fragility, and are associated with mild chronic haemolytic anaemia. Rhnull erythrocytes also lack all antigens of the LW blood-group system, but the functional significance of this deficiency is unknown. We have identified, by immunoblotting with two mouse monoclonal antibodies (BS46 and BS56), the LW-active component(s) in normal human erythrocytes as a broad band of Mr 37 000-47 000 on SDS/polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis. Treatment of intact human erythrocytes with endoglycosidase F preparation destroyed the epitopes recognized by antibodies BS46 and BS56, suggesting that one or more N-glycosidically linked oligosaccharides are required for the formation of the LW antigens. Estimation of the number of LW antigen sites per erythrocyte by using radioiodinated purified antibody BS46 gave average values of 4400 molecules/cell for Rh(D)-positive adult erythrocytes and 2835 molecules/cell for Rh(D)-negative adult erythrocytes. Like the Rh(D) polypeptide, the LW polypeptide(s) is (are) associated with the cytoskeleton of normal erythrocytes. These results suggest the possibility that the absence of the LW polypeptide may also contribute to the functional and/or morphological abnormalities of Rhnull erythrocytes.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylglucosaminidase
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antigens, Surface / immunology*
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Epitopes / analysis
  • Erythrocyte Membrane / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoelectrophoresis
  • Mannosyl-Glycoprotein Endo-beta-N-Acetylglucosaminidase
  • Peptide Fragments / analysis
  • Rh-Hr Blood-Group System / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Surface
  • Epitopes
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Rh-Hr Blood-Group System
  • Acetylglucosaminidase
  • Mannosyl-Glycoprotein Endo-beta-N-Acetylglucosaminidase