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Mol Immunol. 1999 Dec;36(17):1189-205.

Structural differences among monoclonal antibodies with distinct fine specificities and kinetic properties.

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Department of Zoology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD USA.


The mAbs HyHEL-8, HyHEL-26 (HH8, and HH26, respectively) recognize epitopes on hen egg-white lysozyme (HEL) highly overlapping with the structurally defined HH10 epitope, while the structurally related XRPC-25 is specific for DNP and does not bind HEL. All four Abs appear to use the same Vk23 germ line gene, and all but HH8 use the same VH36-60 germ line gene. Of the three anti-HEL Abs, the sequences of HH26 variable regions are closest to those encoded by the respective germ line sequences. HH8 utilizes a different member of the VH36-60 gene family. Thus, the same Vk and VH genes, combined with somatically derived sequence differences, are used to recognize the unrelated Ags HEL and DNP. In contrast, different VH36-60 germ line genes are used to bind the same antigen (e.g. HH8 vs HH10 and HH26). While the affinities of HH10, HH8, and HH26 for HEL vary by less than 10-fold, their affinities for mutated Ag vary over several orders of magnitude. Analyses of Fab binding kinetics with natural species variants and site-directed mutants of lysozyme indicate that these cross-reactivity differences reflect the relative sensitivities of both the association and dissociation rates to antigenic mutation: HH8 has relatively mutation-insensitive association and dissociation rates, HH10 has a relatively mutation-sensitive association rate but more variable dissociation rates, and HH26 has variable association and dissociation rates. Only a few amino acid differences among the antibodies produce the observed differences in the robustness of the association and dissociation rates. Our results suggest that association and dissociation rates and mutation sensitivity of these rates may be independently modulated during antibody repertoire development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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