Luke (LKE) is a high-frequency RBC antigen, related to the P blood group system. A LKE-negative phenotype is found in 1 to 2 percent of donors and may be associated with increased P k . Because P k and similar glycolipids are receptors for shiga toxin on cell membranes, a LKE-negative phenotype could have implications for infections by Shigella dysenteriae and enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli . STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Volunteer donors (n = 257) were serologically typed for LKE with a LKE MoAb, MC813-70. LKE-strong-positive, LKE-weak-positive and LKE-negative RBCs were analyzed for P k , P, LKE, and shiga toxin binding by immunofluorescence flow cytometry, high-performance thin-layer chromatography, scanning densitometry, and high-performance thin-layer chromatography immunostaining. RESULTS: Among Iowa donors, 78.6 percent were LKE-strong-positive, 20.2 percent were LKE-weak-positive, and 1.2 percent were LKE-negative. There was an inverse expression of P k and LKE on RBCs. P k expression was increased on LKE-negative RBCs and was associated with increased shiga toxin binding. A LKE-active glycolipid was identified in the ganglioside fraction of LKE-strong-positive RBCs. CONCLUSION: A LKE-negative phenotype is associated with increased expression of P k on RBCs. Differences in P k and LKE expression may play a role in host susceptibility to infection with S. dysenteriae and E. coli
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