Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Newly discovered blood protein solves 60-year-old riddle

Date:
April 8, 2013
Source:
Lund University
Summary:
Researchers have discovered a new protein that controls the presence of the Vel blood group antigen on our red blood cells. The discovery makes it possible to use simple DNA testing to find blood donors for patients who lack the Vel antigen and need a blood transfusion.

Blood.
Credit: Image courtesy of Lund University

Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have discovered a new protein that controls the presence of the Vel blood group antigen on our red blood cells. The discovery makes it possible to use simple DNA testing to find blood donors for patients who lack the Vel antigen and need a blood transfusion.

Because there has not previously been any simple way to find these rare donors, there is a global shortage of Vel-negative blood. The largest known accumulation of this type of blood donor is found in the Swedish county of Västerbotten, which exports Vel-negative blood all over the world.

The Vel blood group was first described in 1952, when American doctors discovered a patient who developed serious complications from blood transfusions from normal donors. The patient lacked a previously unknown blood group antigen, which was named Vel. It has long been known that around one in 1,000 people lack the Vel antigen, but the molecule that carries it has been a mystery.

Lund University researchers Jill Storry, Magnus Jöud, Björn Nilsson and Martin L. Olsson and their colleagues have now discovered that the presence of the Vel antigen on our red blood cells is controlled by a previously unknown protein (SMIM1) that is not carried by those who lack the Vel antigen. The discovery has been published in the renowned journal Nature Genetics.

The findings have major clinical significance, according to Professor Martin L. Olsson, a consultant in transfusion medicine.

“Until now there has not been a simple way to find these blood donors and there is therefore a major shortage of Vel-negative blood. Now we can identify these donors with simple DNA tests. From having previously only had access to one such donor in our region, there are now three and further screening is being carried out”, says Professor Olsson.

Two research groups with completely different focuses have collaborated to solve the 60-year-old riddle, explains Reader Björn Nilsson, who has led the work together with Reader Jill Storry and Professor Olsson.

“Many researchers have tried to find the Vel molecule. We realised that it might be possible to find it using advanced DNA analysis techniques. Our idea proved to be correct and we found that the Vel blood group is inactivated in exactly the same way for all Vel-negative individuals”, says Björn Nilsson.

Another interesting aspect is that the new protein is unlike any previously known protein and appears to be present on the red blood cells of other species as well.

“Interestingly, the new protein, SMIM1, is reminiscent of other molecules used by malaria parasites to infect humans. It is therefore possible that SMIM1 could be a long-sought malaria receptor on the red blood cells”, says Jill Storry.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lund University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jill R Storry, Magnus Jöud, Mikael Kronborg Christophersen, Britt Thuresson, Bo Åkerström, Birgitta Nilsson Sojka, Björn Nilsson, Martin L Olsson. Homozygosity for a null allele of SMIM1 defines the Vel-negative blood group phenotype. Nature Genetics, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/ng.2600

Cite This Page:

Lund University. "Newly discovered blood protein solves 60-year-old riddle." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408122806.htm>.
Lund University. (2013, April 8). Newly discovered blood protein solves 60-year-old riddle. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408122806.htm
Lund University. "Newly discovered blood protein solves 60-year-old riddle." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408122806.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) — More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) — Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) — Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins