BACKGROUND: The surface decoration of red blood cells (RBCs) by polyethylene glycol (PEG) chains has been an approach developed to camouflage the blood group antigens from their antibodies. A PEGylation protocol, however, that can mask the antigens appropriately to inhibit the agglutination of RBCs with the respective antibodies is not available so far. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: A new approach for PEGylation of RBC membrane proteins has been designed with thiolation-mediated maleimide chemistry. The accessibility of the surface lysine residues of membrane proteins to bulky PEG reagents was increased by linking an extension arm carrying a thiol group. RESULTS: RBCs have been PEGylated by thiolation-mediated chemistry with maleimidophenyl-PEG (Mal-Phe-PEG) reagents of different chain lengths. Mal-Phe-PEG-5000 chains alone masked the most important antigens of the Rh system (C, c, E, e, and D) from their antibodies. The masking of the A and B antigens needed a combination of Mal-Phe-PEG-5000 and Mal-Phe-PEG-20000 chains to inhibit the agglutination of RBCs completely with anti-A or anti-B. CONCLUSIONS: Thiolation-mediated PEGylation of RBCs with Mal-Phe-PEG-5000 and Mal-Phe-PEG-20000 converts Group A Rh(D)+ and B Rh(D)+ RBCs into RBCs with serologic behavior comparable to Group O Rh(D)-RBCs that are considered as universal RBCs for transfusion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy