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Immunogenetics. 1990;32(5):321-30.

Gene segments encoding membrane domains of the human immunoglobulin gamma 3 and alpha chains.

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Laboratoire d'Immunogénétique Moléculaire, URA CNRS 1191, Université Montpellier II, France.


The carboxyterminal region of the heavy chains, according to its hydrophilic or hydrophobic properties, determines whether the immunoglobulin will be secreted or membrane-bound. We have determined the nucleotide sequences of the human IGHG3, IGHA1, and IGHA2 membrane exons isolated from genomic DNA libraries. The IGHG3 M1 and M2 exons are separated by a long intron of 2.1 kilobases (kb) containing an highly repeated motif of 34 base pairs (bp). The IGHA1 and IGHA2 genes, like the mouse Igh-A gene, have a single exon encoding the extracellular, transmembrane, and cytoplasmic regions. For each class of immunoglobulins, the sequences of membrane exons are highly conserved between human and mouse, but no alignment is possible for the flanking regions. In contrast, for a same species, the sequences of the heavy chain membrane exons differ from one class to another. While the hydrophobic profile of the membrane core is well conserved, the cytoplasmic region differs in length and in composition. None of the intracellular domains presents the sequence implied in signal transduction, implying that membrane immunoglobulins need other proteins, which probably interact with the constant or membrane domain, to transmit signals leading to B-cell activation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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