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MicroRNAs Regulate ABO Expression

A new STEM CELLS article from the laboratory of Torsten Tonn (Technische Universität Dresden, Germany) has revealed a crucial role for microRNAs in the regulation of ABO blood group antigen expression during early red blood cell maturation from hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow. Kronstein‐Wiedemann et al. believe that these results are of high clinical relevance for blood transfusion and disorders that involve the downregulation of ABH antigen expression. Also, the group’s findings point to a molecular basis for weak blood group antigen expression in Aweak phenotypes that cannot be explained by mutations within the ABO gene. The observations of this study may suggest targets for therapeutic interventions in diseases associated with blood group receptors and in ABO mismatched transfusion and organ transplantation.