Surface decoration of red blood cells with maleimidophenyl-polyethylene glycol facilitated by thiolation with iminothiolane: An approach to mask A, B, and D antigens to generate universal red blood cells

Parimala Nacharaju, Fouad N. Boctor, Belur N. Manjula, Seetharama A. Acharya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)374-383
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2005


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Hematology

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