Enucleation represents the critical stage during red blood cell development when the nucleus is extruded from an orthochromatic erythroblast in order to generate a nascent immature reticulocyte. Extrusion of the nucleus results in loss of a proportion of the erythroblast plasma membrane, which surrounds the nucleus, the bulk of the endoplasmic reticulum and a small region of cytoplasm. For this reason enucleation provides an important point in erythroblast differentiation at which proteins not required for the function of the erythrocyte can be lost, whilst those that are important for the structure-function properties of the mature erythrocyte must be efficiently retained in the reticulocyte plasma membrane. Disturbances in protein distribution during enucleation are envisaged to occur during human diseases such as Hereditary Spherocytosis. This article will discuss the current knowledge of erythroblast enucleation in the context of retention and loss of proteins that display antigenic blood group sites and that exist within multiprotein complexes within the erythrocyte membrane.
- Journal Article