We have previously shown that the effects of various enzyme treatments on Rh antigen-containing polypeptides in situ could be monitored by an antibody preparation which recognizes only these polypeptides following Western blotting. We now have prepared antibodies that specifically react with either the N- or C-terminal ends of Rh-related proteins. Using all three, we have established that the C-terminus of Rh(D) polypeptide is at the cell surface, whereas its N-terminal domain is situated at the cytoplasmic side of the red blood cell membrane. Chymotrypsin digestion of ghosts derived from (-D-/-D-) cells that are devoid of Rh (C/c) and (E/e) antigens produces three major Rh(D)- related fragments: the 20-Kd fragment contains the molecule's C- terminal domain, the 17-Kd fragment its N-terminus, and the 13-Kd fragment neither. However, only the 17-Kd fragment forms an immune- complex with human polyclonal anti-D, indicating that it contains the Rh(D) antigenic domain. Other findings presented here provide further evidence for a unique folding of Rh(D) polypeptide within the cell membrane and suggest that Rh(C/c) and (E/e) polypeptides, when present, may form complexes with it.

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