Onset of expression of the components of the Kell blood group complex

Jeffrey J. Pu, Colvin M. Redman, Jan W.M. Visser, Soohee Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Kell and XK, two distinct red blood cell membrane proteins, are linked by a disulfide bond and form the Kell blood group complex. Kell surface antigens are expressed early during erythropoiesis but the onset of expression of XK which carries the Kx antigen is unknown. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: To determine whether Kell and XK are synchronously expressed, sorted human hematopoietic progenitor cells and mouse progenitor cells of defined lineage were studied. To determine the onset of expression, human marrow and cord blood cells were sorted into three subpopulations, representing stem, multipotent, and erythroid progenitor cells, and the expression of Kell and XK was determined by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis. Mouse Kell and XK transcripts were determined by cDNA blotting of progenitor cells of defined lineage. RESULTS: By RT-PCR, human peripheral blood progenitor cells had weak expression of Kell and XK transcripts but FACS analysis did not detect surface antigens. Kell and XK transcripts are expressed in multipotent progenitor cells and these cells express Kell surface antigens. The expression of Kx antigen in progenitor cells was not determined owing to nonspecific reactions with the antibody. By cDNA blotting, mouse Kell expression was detected in bipotential megakaryocytes-erythroid cells and in colony-forming units-erythroid (CFU-E) and burst-forming units-erythroid (BFU-E), whereas XK was only detected in CFU-E and BFU-E. CONCLUSION: Both Kell and XK transcripts occur early during erythropoiesis; however, expression may not be coincident because, in mice, Kell transcripts, but not XK, occur in bipotential megakaryocytes-erythroid progenitor cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)969-974
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Hematology


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