To further define the molecules that may mediate spontaneous abortion due to maternal-fetal blood group incompatibility within the P blood group system, we have examined the fine specificities of maternal antibodies and the glycolipid antigens from the placenta of a P infant born to a Pk 1 mother. Maternal antibodies obtained during therapeutic plasmapheresis were analyzed to determine their reactivities with placental glycolipid extracts on thin-layer plates. Second antibodies specific for IgM, IgG, and IgA revealed immunoglobulins of all of these classes strongly reactive with one major placental glycolipid that comigrates with globoside. GC/MS analysis confirmed that the major P-active pentaglycosylceramide of placenta has the same structure as that previously shown for the P antigen of red blood cells: GalNAcβ13Galαl4Galβ14GlcCer. Serum antibodies partially purified by affinity chromatography on globoside-octyl-Sepharose specifically recognize glycolipids that contain terminal GalNAcβ1-3Gal ... residues and also recognize the same sequence as an internal determinant in some, but not all, glycolipids with extended globoside core regions. Thus, in the blood group P incompatible fetus, the major P antigen present in placenta has the same carbohydrate structure as the P antigen present in fetal and adult erythrocytes and might be a target for the maternal immune system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology