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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Molecular analysis of glycophorin A and B gene structure and expression in homozygous Miltenberger class V (Mi. V) human erythrocytes.

In the Miltenberger class V (Mi. V) condition, red cells lack glycophorin A (GPA) and glycophorin B (GPB) but carry instead an unusual glycoprotein thought to be a hybrid molecule produced by the unequal crossing-over between the closely linked genes encoding for GPA and GPB. By Western blot analysis with rabbit anti-GPA antibodies specific for discrete domains of GPA, it was found that the Mi. V glycoprotein (donor F. M.) contains approximately 60 amino acid residues of GPA at its N-terminus. As a preliminary approach to the molecular analysis of this variant the restriction maps of the GPA and GPB genes were established by Southern blot analysis of genomic DNA and from genomic clones isolated from a human leukocyte library constructed in lambda EMBL4. The GPA and GPB genes cover about 30 kb of DNA and are organized into seven exons (A-1-A-7) and five exons (B-1-B-5), respectively. In addition to the normal genes, a third gene (named inv), closely resembling the GPA and GPB genes, was also identified. In the homozygous Mi. V individual the normal GPA and GPB genes were absent, but an unusual form of gene structure was detected by Southern blot analysis. The Mi. V glycoprotein gene was composed of exon B-1 of the GPB gene followed by exons A-2 and A-3 of the GPA gene and the exons B-3, B-4 and B-5 of the GPB gene. Exon B-1 can be distinguished from exon A-1 of GPA since it is located within a different restriction fragment, but both encode the same amino acid sequence (N-terminal region of the signal peptides). Using the polymerase chain reaction, the junction between exon A-3 and exon B-3 was confirmed by amplification of the DNA region where the putative crossing-over has occurred and it was deduced that the Mi. V glycoprotein is a hybrid molecule composed of amino acid residues 1-58 from GPA fused to amino acid residues 27-72 of GPB. In addition, the finding that part of the signal peptide and the 5'-untranslated region are derived from GPB suggests that the genetic background of the Mi. V variant is rather complex and may involve a cascade of recombination or gene conversion events.[1]


  1. Molecular analysis of glycophorin A and B gene structure and expression in homozygous Miltenberger class V (Mi. V) human erythrocytes. Vignal, A., Rahuel, C., el Maliki, B., London, J., le van Kim, C., Blanchard, D., Andre, C., d'Auriol, L., Galibert, F., Blajchman, M.A. Eur. J. Biochem. (1989) [Pubmed]
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