The Wright (Wr) blood group antigens, Wra and Wrb, have been suggested to be determined by alleles of the same gene. The Wrb antigen appears to involve both red blood cell (RBC) band 3 and glycophorin A (GPA). We have examined the cDNA sequences of the band 3 and GPA of one of the two known Wr(a+b-) individuals. We show that this individual is homozygous for the mutation Glu658--<Lys in band 3, but has normal GPA. Putative heterozygotes with Wr(a+b+) RBCs have both Glu and Lys at residue 658 of band 3, whereas the common Wr(a-b+) RBC phenotype only have band 3 with Glu658. The Wra and Wrb antigens are determined by the amino acid at residue 658 of band 3 and are antithetical. Examination of the amino acid sequence and Wrb antigen expression of GPA-related hybrid glycophorins suggests that Arg61 of GPA interacts with Glu658 of band 3 to form the Wrb antigen. We suggest that the interaction is stabilized by the presence of anti-Wrb antibodies and that this site of association between GPA and band 3 may be responsible for the previously reported ability of anti-GPA antibodies to decrease the deformability of RBCs.

This content is only available as a PDF.