Several tubes with blood samples, in a file image. Several tubes with blood samples, in a file image. PIXABAY
An investigation carried out by scientists from the University of Bristol (United Kingdom), carried out on a medical case from 30 years ago, has allowed the discovery of a historical finding: a new blood group.
It is the Er system and as Gizmodo collects, it is expected that it can help save the lives of future newborns. “This work shows that even after all the research done to date, the simple red blood cell can still surprise us,” says University of Bristol cell biologist Ash Toye.
Blood type describes the presence and absence of combinations of proteins and sugars that coat the surfaces of our red blood cells. Although they can serve different purposes, our body generally uses these cell surface antigens as identification markers with which to differentiate itself from potentially harmful invaders.
“By using gene editing in a cell line, we were able to show that the Piezo1 protein was required for expression of the Er antigen and establish that Er was its own blood group system made up of previously recognized Era, Erb and Er3 antigens, plus two new ‘high-incidence Er antigens’ called Er4 and Er5,” the study says.
“Piezoproteins are mechanosensory proteins that the red blood cell uses to detect when it is being squeezed. The protein is present in only a few hundred copies in the membrane of each cell,” Toye continues.
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“This study really highlights the potential antigenicity of even very low expressed proteins and their relevance to transfusion medicine,” Toye concludes.