Studies on the glycoprotein associated with Rh (rhesus) blood group antigen expression in the human red blood cell membrane

J Biol Chem. 1994 Mar 4;269(9):6410-6.


The blood group Rh antigens are associated with non-glycosylated 30-kDa erythrocyte membrane proteins (the Rh30 polypeptides) and the Rh glycoprotein. We used antipeptide antibodies to study the Rh glycoprotein in human erythrocyte membranes. The Rh glycoprotein was present in Rhnull U+ve cells. However, the N-glycan chain of the Rh glycoprotein in Rhnull U+ve cells was smaller than in normal cells. In contrast, the N-glycan chain of the Rh glycoprotein was larger than normal in glycophorin B-deficient red cells. We suggest that this observation reflects a lower rate of movement of newly synthesized Rh glycoprotein through intracellular membranes to the cell surface in the absence of glycophorin B, and that in normal red cells glycophorin B facilitates the movement of the Rh protein complex to the cell surface. Our results provide evidence for the intracellular interaction of at least three proteins, the Rh glycoprotein, Rh30 polypeptides, and glycophorin B during the biosynthesis and cell surface expression of the Rh complex. These observations are likely to be important for the successful design of expression systems for the blood group Rh antigens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anion Exchange Protein 1, Erythrocyte / isolation & purification
  • Anion Exchange Protein 1, Erythrocyte / metabolism
  • Antibodies
  • DNA, Complementary / blood
  • Dogs
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Epitopes / analysis
  • Erythrocyte Membrane / metabolism*
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism*
  • Glycophorins / deficiency
  • Glycophorins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Male
  • Microsomes / metabolism
  • Molecular Weight
  • Pancreas / metabolism
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Rabbits / immunology
  • Rh-Hr Blood-Group System / biosynthesis*
  • Rh-Hr Blood-Group System / blood
  • Rh-Hr Blood-Group System / isolation & purification


  • Anion Exchange Protein 1, Erythrocyte
  • Antibodies
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Epitopes
  • Glycophorins
  • Rh-Hr Blood-Group System