Background and objectives: Rare individuals (Bombay and para-Bombay phenotypes) fail to express the A, B and H antigens on erythrocyte membranes because of a lack in the H gene (FUT1)-encoded alpha(1,2)fucosyltransferase activity. In this study, we have found a para-Bombay individual (Bmh) who expressed B and H antigens in saliva but not on red blood cells. The FUT1 alleles of this person contained two single base changes (T460C and G1042A) in the coding region relative to the wild type allele. These substitutions may result in changes in two amino acid residues (Y154H and E348K).
Materials and methods: Since the T460C and G1042A mutations destroy endonuclease RsaI and AvaI sites, respectively, we tested for these mutations using PCR-RFLP.
Results: Our findings indicated that this para-Bombay person was homozygous for the T460C and G1042A mutations, and that neither of these mutations was found in 136 randomly selected Japanese individuals. The measurement of the alpha(1,2)fucosyltransferase activity after transient expression of the FUT1 alleles in COS-7 cells indicated that the H-deficient allele-encoded enzyme had no detectable activity. Moreover, transfection by chimera FUT1 allele contains only the T460C mutation, or only the G1042A mutation, and yielded 1.0 or 9.3%, respectively, of the activities compared to transfection by the wild type allele.
Conclusions: These results suggest that the two mutations in combination are responsible for the inactivation of the FUT1-encoded enzyme activity.