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Histo-blood group p: biosynthesis of globoseries glycolipids in EBV-transformed B cell lines


The genetic and biosynthetic basis of the histo-blood group P-system is not fully understood. Individuals with the rare p phenotype do not express the three glycolipid antigens (Pk, P and P1) of this system, probably because of deficiencies in glycosyltransferases involved in their biosynthesis. Iiukaet al. [Iiuka S, Chen SH, Yoshida A (1986)Biochem Biophys Res Commun 137: 1187–95], however, previously reported that detergent extracts from an EBV-transformed B cell line derived from a p individual did express the glycosyltransferase activity (Pk transferase) assumed to be missing in this blood group status. Here, we have reinvestigated the antigen expression and glycosyltransferase activities in two p individuals by analysing EBV-transformed cell lines as well as erythrocytes to confirm the blood group P status. The thin layer chromatography glycolipid profile of extracts from erythrocytes and EBV-transformed B cell lines showed characteristic accumulation of lactosylceramide and absence of Pk and P antigens. Glycosyltransferase activities of the B cell lines were analysed using glycolipid substrates and both extracts were found to contain lactosylceramide synthetase and P transferase activities but to be completely devoid of Pk transferase activity. The presented data indicate that p individuals, in contrast to previous reports, do not express a functional Pk glycosyltransferase.

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Correspondence to Joëlle Wiels.

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Dedicated to Professor S. Hakomori in the occasion of his 65th birthday from two of his past posdoc's.

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Wiels, J., Taga, S., Tétaud, C. et al. Histo-blood group p: biosynthesis of globoseries glycolipids in EBV-transformed B cell lines. Glycoconjugate J 13, 529–535 (1996).

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  • P blood group
  • glycolipids
  • glycosyltransferases
  • B cell lines