Sequence and expression of a candidate for the human Secretor blood group alpha(1,2)fucosyltransferase gene (FUT2). Homozygosity for an enzyme-inactivating nonsense mutation commonly correlates with the non-secretor phenotype

J Biol Chem. 1995 Mar 3;270(9):4640-9. doi: 10.1074/jbc.270.9.4640.


Synthesis of soluble A, B, H, and Lewis b blood group antigens in humans is determined by the Secretor (Se) (FUT2) blood group locus. Genetic, biochemical, and molecular analyses indicate that this locus corresponds to an alpha(1,2)fucosyltransferase gene distinct from the genetically-linked H blood group alpha(1,2)fucosyltransferase locus. The accompanying paper (Rouquier, S., Lowe, J. B., Kelly, R. J., Fertitta, A. L., Lennon, G. G., and Giorgi, D. (1995) J. Biol. Chem. 270, 4632-4639) describes the molecular cloning and mapping of two human DNA segments that are physically linked to, and cross-hybridize with, the H locus. We present here an analysis of these two new DNA segments. One of these, termed Sec1, is a pseudogene, because translational frameshifts and termination codons interrupt potential open reading frames that would otherwise share primary sequence similarity with the H alpha(1,2)fucosyltransferase. The other DNA segment, termed Sec2, predicts a 332-amino acid-long polypeptide, and a longer isoform, that share 68% sequence identity with the COOH-terminal 292 residues of the human H blood group alpha(1,2)fucosyltransferase. Sec2 encodes an alpha(1,2)fucosyltransferase with catalytic properties that mirror those ascribed to the Secretor locus-encoded alpha(1,2)fucosyltransferase. Approximately 20% of randomly-selected individuals were found to be apparently homozygous for an enzyme-inactivating nonsense allele (Trp143-->ter) at this locus, in correspondence to the frequency of the non-secretor phenotype in most human populations. Furthermore, each of six unrelated non-secretor individuals are also apparently homozygous for this null allele. These results indicate that Sec2 corresponds to the human Secretor blood group locus (FUT2) and indicate that homozygosity for a common nonsense allele is responsible for the nonsecretor phenotype in many non-secretor individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Base Sequence
  • Blood Group Antigens / genetics*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA
  • DNA Primers
  • Fucosyltransferases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Fucosyltransferases / genetics*
  • Homozygote*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Phenotype
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid


  • Blood Group Antigens
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA
  • Fucosyltransferases
  • galactoside 2-alpha-L-fucosyltransferase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/D82933