Abstract

The Fya, Fyb, Jka, U, and Dib antigen site numbers and ultrastructural distribution patterns on the human erythrocyte membrane were determined using quantitative immunoferritin microscopy. For homozygous antigen- positive red cells, the average number of determinants per red cell was about 14,000 for Jka, 17,000 for Fya and Fyb, 19,000 for Dib, and 23,000 for the U antigen, assuming that the equilibrium binding observed represented 80% saturation of the accessible antigen sites. The site numbers for this group of antigens were less than that for the Rh antigens, but considerably more than the Kell and Cellano antigens. The technique used was capable of demonstrating a twofold difference in antigen density between heterozygous and homozygous Fy (a+) red cells. More than 85% of the Fya and Fyb antigen sites were lost following pretreatment of the red cells with papain, consistent with the serologic lability of the Fy antigens following proteolysis. The ferritin distribution observed following conjugate staining of antibody- sensitized ghost membranes was similar for all five antigens studied and showed a random, clustered ferritin pattern. Although the quantitative estimates are valid, the remarkable similarity in antigen distribution pattern for this diverse group of antigens, as well as other considerations, suggest that the findings with ghose membranes probably do not reflect faithfully the antigen arrangement on the intact red cell membrane.

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