Reduction in the Level of Gal(α 1,3)Gal in Transgenic Mice and Pigs by the Expression of an α (1,2)fucosyltransferase
Hyperacute rejection of a porcine organ by higher primates is initiated by the binding of xenoreactive natural antibodies of the recipient to blood vessels in the graft leading to complement activation. The majority of these antibodies recognize the carbohydrate structure Gal(alphal,3)Gal (gal epitope) present on cells of pigs. It is possible that the removal or lowering of the number of gal epitopes on the graft endothelium could prevent hyperacute rejection. The Gal(alpha1,3) Gal structure is formed by the enzyme Galbeta1,4GlcNAc3-alpha-D-galactosyltransferase [alpha(1,3)GT; EC 18.104.22.168], which transfers a galactose molecule to terminal N-acetyllactosamine (N-lac) present on various glycoproteins and glycolipids. The N-lac structure might be utilized as an acceptor by other glycosyltransferases such as Galbeta1,4GlcNAc 6-alpha-D-sialyltransferase [alpha(2,6)ST], Galbeta1,4GlcNAc 3-alpha-D-Sialyltransferase [alpha(2,3)ST], or Galbeta 2-alpha-L-fucosyltransferase [alpha(1,2)FT; EC 22.214.171.1241, etc. In this report we describe the competition between alpha(1,2)FT and alpha(1,3)GT in cells in culture and the generation of transgenic mice and transgenic pigs that express alpha(1,2)Fr leading to synthesis of Fucalpha,2Galbeta- (H antigen) and a concomitant decrease in the level of Gal(alpha1,3)Gal. As predicted, this resulted in reduced binding of xenoreactive natural antibodies to endothelial cells of transgenic mice and protection from complement mediated lysis.