Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Lewis Blood Group

Antigens of red blood cells, epithelial cells, saliva, and other body fluids, specified by the Le gene, that react with the antibodies designated anti-Lea and anti-Leb; named after a Mrs Lewis, in whose white blood cells the antibodies were discovered. The gene codes for the enzyme fucosyltransferase, and adds a fucose sugar molecule to the ABO blood group precursor. Type O individuals with the Lewis antigen are susceptible to gastric ulcers because the bacterium responsible, Helicobacter pylori, attaches to the gastric mucosa by binding to receptors that contain exposed fucose. The Le gene maps to HSA 19.

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