Enzymes That Convert 'A' Blood Type to Universal 'O' Type Discovered

Biologists discover a way to increase blood supply, thanks to specific enzymes that help change blood types.
Fabienne Lang

Blood transfusions occur regularly around the world, with the most universal blood type known as the 'O' type. 

There is always a need for blood transfusions, and luckily, researchers have found access to specific enzymes that are able to convert A and B type of red blood cells into the donor O type.


This will increase the supply of blood for transfusions greatly, saving many lives. The research was published in Nature Microbiology on 10 June. 

The researchers went through functional screening of the human gut microbiome, or microbes found in our gut, looking for enzymes that can remove the A and B blood type.

From amongst our genes, that comprise about 19,500 fosmids, and which hold our gut bacterial DNA, the researchers have identified a pair of enzymes that function together to properly convert the A blood type to the H one, which is directly linked to the O type. 

This is done via a galactosamine intermediate. A form of synthesis.

By X-raying its structure, the study found an active site and system of the founding esterase family, or carbohydrate. How it works is that the galactosamine increases the activity in the esterase family, called GH36

In doing so, they completely convert the blood type from A to O at extremely low enzyme concentrations. This, in turn, will make the incorporation of blood transfusion simpler, ultimately increasing blood supply.