A team of researchers from the University of British Columbia has managed to reach an impressive feat. The scientists found two types of enzymes which can be used in tandem to convert type A blood into type 0. The enzymes were found inside the human gut.
It is well known that there are four blood types: 0, A, B, and AB. Out of all of the types, 0 is the only one which can be transfused into any recipient, a trait which makes it very valuable in hospital. Differences between blood types are determined by the presence of sugar molecules, which are known as blood antigens.
These antigens are present on the surface of the red blood cells, and their presence assigns a type: A-type antigens are present in the case of A-type blood, B-type antigens are found in B-type blood, and those who carry both types of antigens have AB-type blood. Type 0 is unique because it is not set apart by a specific antigen. If the immune system finds the wrong type of antigen, an alert will be initiated. As expected, this event isn’t observed when type 0 blood is used.
Researchers discover enzymes which can convert blood type A to type 0
Previous research has inferred that select enzymes can be used to convert A, B, or AB blood into 0 by removing antigens. The latest research focuses on two enzymes recovered from the human gut biome. During the study, the researchers harvested DNA from uncultured bacteria.
The DNA was then shifted to Escheria Coli, and the result was used in an attempt to track down microbes, which can consume the antigens without harming the surface of the red cell.
The initial results were a bit disappointing since the researchers didn’t manage to find a microbe which could fulfill the task. However, they isolated two enzymes which were able to complete the job. One of them converted the antigen to an amine while others consumed the amine. The results were published in a peer-reviewed journal.