In 1962, Mann reported an antibody which he found in the serum of a multiply transfused
Caucasian male (Mr. And) that seemed to be associated with the sex of the donor red cells.
In other words, the antigen frequency differed between males (XY) and females (XX) of the
same race. Thus, this new antigen was named Xga as it appeared
to be controlled by the X (sex) chromosome. The Xg antigen is well developed at birth
although cord blood cells may give weaker reactions than adult cells. The Xg system,
however, is unusual in that no other antigens have been identified to date. Curiously,
most of the antibody producers have been males.
Biochemical analyses have shown that the Xga antigen is
located on a 27,000 molecular weight sialoglycoprotein. This protein is encoded for by a
gene on the X chromosome at position Xp22-32. The Xg locus is one of the few genes
on the X chromosome that are not subject to Lyonization, ie. random "switching
off" in females of one of the X genes. Goodfellow and Tippett have observed an
interesting association between the Xga antigen and CD99. They
found that the CD99 antigen also showed variable expression which appeared to be related
to sex. Individuals who are high expressors of CD99 are Xg(a+). Although there are Xg(a-),
CD99 low expressors, no "null phenotype" has yet to be found. Since these two
proteins may associate with each other in the red cell membrane, the null would presumably
lack both the Xg and CD99 proteins. No disease association has been found with a
particular Xg phenotype.