ABO blood groups

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Developed by: Donna Koslowsky


Cells and Organelles: ABO blood type

Campbell's Biology, 9 ed. Chapter 6

Introduction to cellular structure and function. This activity was developed to reinforce the protein targeting activity.  In this activity, students are asked to build their own flow chart in the movement of glycoproteins that contain the ABO antigens to the Plasma membrane.


Connection to Vision and Change

Core Concepts

2.  Structure and Function

Basic units of structure define the function of all living things.  Signal peptides and Signal tags as recognition units that can deliver proteins to specific compartments.  Protein modifications (glycosylation) as recognition units that can be very important in biological function.

3.  Information flow, exchange and storage:

Information stored within the proteins allows them to be delivered to the proper compartment for optimal function.  The utilization of biological information.

Core Competencies and Disciplinary Practice


Biology focuses on the study of complex systems.

Development of problem-solving strategies.  Reading Flow Charts, critical thinking.

Learning Objectives:            

1.  Recognize and Describe function of organelles (ER and Golgi). 

2.  Describe how the endomembrane system regulates protein traffic and performs metabolic functions in the cell.

2.  Explain the advantages of compartmentalization (having organelles).

3.  Explain how the different organelles/membranes accumulate different proteins and other macromolecules allowing for different functions. 



At the beginning of class, students are given a mini-lecture  on key aspects of  ABO bloodgroups.  They are then asked to refer to the flow chart previously given (see protein targeting activity), to develop their own flow chart to map the movement of either 1) the glycoproteins that carry the ABO antigens or 2 ) the enzymes responsible for adding the ABO antigens.

Referring to Flow Chart previously given. 

  Working in groups of four.  Two students do 1) proteins that carry the antigens and two students do 2) enzymes that add the antigens.

 1)  Create your own flow chart that indicates the cellular pathway from synthesis to final destination of a glycoprotein that carries an ABO antigen.

Be sure to indicate which targeting signals the protein must carry to get to its final destination and where in the pathway the oligosaccharide modifications are added.

2)  Create your own flow chart that indicates the cellular pathway from synthesis to final destination of the enzyme (glycotransferase) that adds the final monosaccharide (A or B antigen) to the Plasma membrane glycoprotein.  Again be sure to indicate which targeting signals the protein (enzyme) must carry.

Associated Questions


Background info about ABO for instructors377.5 KB
ABO blood group lecture slides and clicker questions238.71 KB

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (DUE grants: 1438739, 1323162, 1347740, 0736952 and 1022653). Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.