Chemistry of human erythrocyte polylactosamine glycopeptides (erythroglycans) as related to ABH blood group antigenic determinants.

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Human erythrocytes bear carbohydrates linked to both proteins and lipids. The majority of the carbohydrates is carried on two proteins: 1) Band 3 (which carries a high molecular weight polylactosamine, variously termed "Erythroglycan", "poly(glycosyl)peptide" or "lactosaminoglycan" and 2) Glycophorin A (which carries 15 O-linked tetrasaccharides and 1 triantennary N-linked structure). The remainder of carbohydrates are carried mainly by a few other glycoproteins (glycophorins B,C, the glucose transporter and others) with a minor amount carried by glycosphingolipids. This report concerns the Band 3 carbohydrate and its content of potential ABH-active sites. We have determined that an average number of two [Fuc1----2Ga11----4GlcNAc] sequences are carried by each "erythroglycan", polylactosamine N-linked oligosaccharide. One such large oligosaccharide occurs on each molecule of Band 3 polypeptide of which there are 1,000,000 copies per erythrocyte. Therefore, about 2,000,000 possible ABH sites are borne by Band 3 on each erythrocyte. This approximates the number of immunologically estimated ABH sites on human erythrocytes. Thus, Band 3 carbohydrate probably carries the majority of ABH substance on human red cells, while other glycoproteins and glycosphingolipids carry a minor fraction.

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Advances in experimental medicine and biology

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