Histo-Blood Group Antigens as Tumor-Associated Carbohydrate Antigens and Ligands for Cell Adhesion

  • Sen-itiroh Hakomori
Part of the Blood Cell Biochemistry book series (BLBI, volume 6)


Since the blood group ABH antigen system was discovered by Landsteiner (1900, 1901), many scientists have worked on chemical characterization of these antigens. Early attempts to isolate the antigens from red blood cells (RBCs) were difficult because the antigens in the RBC membrane are insoluble in water and present in extremely small quantity as compared with the same antigens in glandular secretions and epithelia (Kabat, 1956; Prokop and Uhlenbruck, 1969). Thus, the first successful chemical analysis of ABH antigens was accomplished using soluble forms of antigens isolated from mucins. Through a series of laborious studies performed mainly by Walter T. J. Morgan and Winifred M. Watkins (London) and Elvin A. Kabat (New York) in the 1950s and 1960s, the ABH determinants were finally identified and the structural relationships among ABH and Lewis antigens clarified (Morgan and Watkins, 1969; Kabat, 1973; Watkins, 1980). It was not until the late 1960s and early 1970s that ABH and Lewis antigens present in blood cells and tissues were isolated and characterized as glycosphingolipids (GSLs) or as membrane-bound proteins linked to polylactosaminoglycans (Hakomori, 1981). Since ABH antigens as well as Lewis antigens (for chemical and genetic relationships, see Chapter 3) are much more abundant in epithelial cells and tissues than in blood cells, they are most appropriately called “histo-blood group antigens” rather than simply “blood group antigens” (Clausen and Hakomori, 1989).


Gastric Cancer Blood Group Blood Group Antigen Tumor Cell Adhesion Molecular Genetic Basis 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sen-itiroh Hakomori
    • 1
  1. 1.The Biomembrane Institute and Department of PathobiologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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