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Human histo-blood group A transferase (AT) catalyzes the biosynthesis of oligosaccharide A antigen important in blood transfusion and cell/tissue/organ transplantation. This enzyme may synthesize Forssman antigen (FORS1) of the FORS blood group system when exon 3 or 4 of the AT mRNA is deleted and/or the LeuGlyGly tripeptide at codons 266-268 of AT is replaced by GlyGlyAla. The Met69Ser/Thr substitutions also confer weak Forssman glycolipid synthase (FS) activity. In this study, we prepared the human AT derivative constructs containing any of the 20 amino acids at codon 69 with and without the GlyGlyAla substitution, transfected DNA to newly generated COS1(B3GALNT1 + A4GALT) cells expressing an enhanced level of globoside (Gb4), the FS acceptor substrate, and immunologically examined the FORS1 expression. Our results showed that all those substitution constructs at codon 69 exhibited FS activity. The combination with GlyGlyAla significantly increased the activity. The conserved methionine residue in the ABO, but not GBGT1, gene-encoded proteins may implicate its contribution to the separation of these genes in genetic evolution. Surprisingly, with increased Gb4 availability, the original human AT with the methionine residue at codon 69 was also demonstrated to synthesize FORS1, providing another molecular mechanism of FORS1 appearance in cancer of ordinary FORS1-negative individuals.


Miyako Yamamoto, Maria Cristina Tarasco, Emili Cid, Hidetomo Kobayashi, Fumiichiro Yamamoto. ABO blood group A transferase and its codon 69 substitution enzymes synthesize FORS1 antigen of FORS blood group system. Scientific reports. 2019 Jul 04;9(1):9717

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PMID: 31273262

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