Objective: Definition of the molecular basis of the Reunion and the Bombay red cell and salivary H-deficient phenotypes.
Methods: Sequence and expression of FUT1 and FUT2 genes from H-deficient individuals. Family segregation analysis of the mutations responsible for the fucosyltransferase defects of H, secretor and Lewis systems.
Results: The Indian red cell H null Bombay phenotype depends on a new mutation of the FUT1 gene. T725-->G changing Leu242-->Arg. Their salivary nonsecretor phenotype is secondary to a complete deletion of the FUT2 gene. The red cell H weak Reunion phenotype depends on another new mutation of FUT1, C349-->T which induces a change of His117-->Tyr. Their salivary nonsecretor phenotype is due to the known Caucasian inactivating mutation G428-->A.
Conclusion: Single prevalent FUT1 and FUT2 point mutations and a deletion are responsible for the Indian Bombay H null and the Reunion H weak phenotypes found on Reunion island. This is in contrast with other H-deficient phenotypes where sporadic nonprevalent inactivating mutations are the rule.