Letter | Published:

Effect of Ribonuclease on Erythrocyte Antigens



RESULTS reported earlier from this laboratory suggest that the Rh and Lutheran human blood-group antigens owe at least some portion of their specificity to ribonucleic acid derivatives1,2. These observations were later confirmed by Allen (personal communication). Boyd, McMaster and Waszczenko-Zacharczenko3 reported that they could not confirm the results cited above. However, more recently Boyd (personal communication) has observed an inhibitory effect reported earlier for these ribonucleic acid derivatives. This hypothesis has been further tested by treating erythrocytes with the enzyme ribonuclease. (Two samples from Worthington and one from Nutritional Biochemicals were used.) If, indeed, any antigenic specificity is due to ribonucleic acid derivatives, then treatment with this enzyme should remove these, at least partially, from the cells, and thus lower the agglutinability of these cells with the antibodies specific for the affected antigens. On the other hand, those antigens which are presumed not to involve ribonucleic acid derivatives should be unaffected by this treatment.

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  1. 1

    Hackel, E., Smolker, R. E., and Fenske, S. A., Vox Sang., 3, 402 (1958).

  2. 2

    Hackel, E., and Spolyar, K. S., Vox Sang. (in the press).

  3. 3

    Boyd, W. C., McMaster, M. H., and Waszczenko-Zacharczenko, E., Nature, 184, 989 (1959).

  4. 4

    Race, R. R., and Sanger, R., “Blood Groups in Man”, third ed. (Blackwell Scientific Pub., Oxford, 1958).

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