The identification of specific Rhesus-polypeptide-blood-group-ABH-active-glycoprotein complexes in the human red-cell membrane

Biochem J. 1987 Jun 15;244(3):735-41. doi: 10.1042/bj2440735.


1. RhD,c and E immune complexes isolated from 3H- and 125I-surface-radiolabelled and unlabelled intact human red cells were analysed by SDS/polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis. 2. Apparent Mr values of 31,900 for RhD polypeptide and 33,100 for Rhc,E polypeptide were obtained under both reducing and non-reducing conditions. Glycosylation of RhD,c and E polypeptides was not detected. 3. RhD,c and E immune complexes also contain a glycoprotein component. RhD glycoprotein (apparent Mr 45,000-100,000) is distinct from Rhc,E glycoprotein(s) (apparent Mr 35,000-65,000). Rh (Rhesus) glycoprotein carbohydrate moieties are susceptible to endo-beta-galactosidase digestion and carry blood-group-ABH determinants. This suggests the presence of polylactosaminoglycan-type structures. 4. Rh glycoproteins are not present in Rh immune complexes as a result of non-specific adsorption of membrane glycoproteins during the membrane-solubilization phase of immune-complex isolation because RhD immune complexes isolated from a 1:1 (v/v) mixture of Acde/cde and OcDE/cDE red cells do not contain blood-group-A-active glycoprotein. 5. Blood-group-A immune complexes isolated from group-A red cells of the appropriate Rh phenotypes contain the 31,900- and 33,100-apparent-Mr Rh polypeptides. 6. It was concluded from the above evidence that non-covalent Rh-glycoprotein-Rh-polypeptide complexes exist in the native red-cell membrane. 7. The 31,900- and 33,100-apparent-Mr Rh polypeptides are absent from blood-group-A immune complexes isolated from regulator type Rhnull cells (donor A.L.), but are replaced by a 33,800-apparent-Mr Rhnull-specific polypeptide (Rhnull polypeptide). It is suggested that Rhnull polypeptide is an aberrant product of the Rh gene complex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigen-Antibody Complex*
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Epitopes / analysis
  • Erythrocyte Membrane / immunology*
  • Glycoproteins* / immunology
  • Glycoside Hydrolases*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Weight
  • Peptides* / immunology*
  • Rh-Hr Blood-Group System / immunology*
  • beta-Galactosidase


  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • Epitopes
  • Glycoproteins
  • Peptides
  • Rh-Hr Blood-Group System
  • Rho(D) antigen
  • Glycoside Hydrolases
  • keratan-sulfate endo-1,4-beta-galactosidase
  • beta-Galactosidase