α-Gal Epitopes on Viral Glycoproteins

  • Russell P. Rother
  • Uri Galili
Part of the Subcellular Biochemistry book series (SCBI, volume 32)


The α-gal epitope (Galα1,3Galβl,4GlcNAc-R) is a terminal glycosidic structure that is expressed on the surface of cells from most mammalian species other than humans, apes and Old World monkeys (Galili et al., 1988a; Galili et al., 1987). The terminal α-galactosyl unit of this epitope is added to nascent glycolipids and glycoproteins in the Golgi apparatus by α1,3galactosyltransferase (α1,3GT). In primates lacking the α-gal epitope, the α1,3GT gene is not transcribed, and nonsense mutations are present within the coding region of some species (Galili and Swanson, 1991; Larsen et al., 1990a; Joziasse et al., 1989). The presence of a functional α1,3GT in New World monkeys suggests that this gene was inactivated in ancestral Old World monkeys and apes after their divergence from New World monkeys (Galili et al., 1988a). A detailed comparison of the α1,3GT pseudogene sequences in Old World monkeys and apes further suggests that this gene was inactivated after these two groups diverged from each other (Galili and Andrews, 1995; Galili and Swanson, 1991).


Envelop Virus World Monkey Carbohydrate Chain Normal Human Serum Sindbis Virus 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Russell P. Rother
    • 1
  • Uri Galili
    • 2
  1. 1.Molecular Development, Alexion PharmaceuticalsNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyMCP Hahnemann School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA

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