Red cells with the D-- phenotype do not express the RHCE protein because of mutations in both alleles of the RHCE gene. At present, little is known of the effect this has on the normal function of erythrocytes. In this study a group of five families belonging to a nomadic tribe in Malaysia were identified as carriers of the D-- haplotype. Analysis of homozygous individuals' genomic DNA showed two separate novel mutations. In four of the families, RHCE exons 1, 9 and 10 were present, while the 5th family possessed RHCE exons 1-3 and 10. Analysis of cDNA revealed hybrid transcripts, suggesting a gene conversion event with RHD, consistent with previously reported D-- mutations. Immunoblotting analysis of D-- erythrocyte membrane proteins found that Rh-associated glycoprotein (RHAG) migrates with altered electrophoretic mobility on sodium dodecyl sulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, consistent with increased glycosylation. Total amounts of Rh polypeptide in D-- membranes were comparable with controls, indicating that the exalted D antigen displayed by D-- red cells may be associated with altered surface epitope presentation. The adhesion molecules CD44 and CD47 are significantly reduced in D--. Together these results suggest that absence of RHCE polypeptide alters the structure and packing of the band 3/Rh macrocomplex.
Covalent hemoglobin binding to membranes leads to band 3 (AE1) clustering and the removal of erythrocytes from the circulation; it is also implicated in blood storage lesions. Damaged hemoglobin, with the heme being in a redox and oxygen-binding inactive hemichrome form, has been implicated as the binding species. However, previous studies used strong non-physiological oxidants. In vivo hemoglobin is constantly being oxidised to methemoglobin (ferric), with around 1% of hemoglobin being in this form at any one time. In this study we tested the ability of the natural oxidised form of hemoglobin (methemoglobin) in the presence or absence of the physiological oxidant hydrogen peroxide to initiate membrane binding. The higher the oxidation state of hemoglobin (from Fe(III) to Fe(V)) the more binding was observed, with approximately 50% of this binding requiring reactive sulphydryl groups. The hemoglobin bound was in a high molecular weight complex containing spectrin, ankyrin and band 4.2, which are common to one of the cytoskeletal nodes. Unusually, we showed that hemoglobin bound in this way was redox active and capable of ligand binding. It can initiate lipid peroxidation showing the potential to cause cell damage. In vivo oxidative stress studies using extreme endurance exercise challenges showed an increase in hemoglobin membrane binding, especially in older cells with lower levels of antioxidant enzymes. These are then targeted for destruction. We propose a model where mild oxidative stress initiates the binding of redox active hemoglobin to the membrane. The maximum lifetime of the erythrocyte is thus governed by the redox activity of the cell; from the moment of its release into the circulation the timer is set.
An extract prepared from the tentacle of Catostylus mosaicus was shown to lyse erythrocytes from rat, rabbit and human to a different extent; those from the rat being most susceptible followed by those from rabbit and human. The haemolytic activity was dependent on the concentration of crude extract protein exhibiting a sigmoidal curve. Only 60% of the haemolytic activity was retained after treament with heat and proteolytic enzyme. The extract was devoid of hydrolytic enzymes normally present in venoms except for phospholipase A activity, which resulted in the hydrolysis of membrane phospholipids with concomittant appearance of their lyso-derivatives.
There are several reports of reduced levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), particularly arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), in membrane phospholipid from various tissues including red blood cells (RBC) taken from schizophrenic patients. However, reports have not been entirely consistent and most studies have been confounded by the potential effects of environmental factors including antipsychotic medication and diet. We measured PUFA levels in RBC from two separate groups of unmedicated patients and control subjects from India and Malaysia, populations which have substantial differences in diet. We found no significant difference in levels of AA between patients and control subjects in either population. Levels of adrenic acid were significantly reduced, and levels of DHA significantly increased in both clinical populations. However, diet-related differences in DHA between the populations from India and Malaysia were much greater than differences between schizophrenic patients and controls. It is concluded that reduced RBC membrane levels of AA and DHA are not pathognomic of schizophrenia but that variations in cell membrane fatty acid levels are an epiphenomenon which may reflect underlying abnormalities of phospholipid and fatty acid metabolism and their interaction with environmental factors including medication and diet.