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Mol Immunol. 2010 Apr;47(7-8):1421-5. doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2010.02.018. Epub 2010 Mar 17.

Circular Dichroism reveals evidence of coupling between immunoglobulin constant and variable region secondary structure.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Ave, Bronx, NY 10461, United States.


Antibodies (Ab) are bifunctional molecules with two domains, a constant region (C) that confers effector properties and a variable (V) region responsible of antigen (Ag) binding. Historically the C and V regions were considered to be functionally independent, with Ag specificity being solely determined by the V region. However, recent studies suggest that the C region can affect Ab fine specificity. This has led to the proposal that the C(H) domain influences the structure of the V region, thus affecting Ab affinity and fine specificity. An inference from this proposal is that V region identical monoclonal Abs (mAbs) differing in C region (eg isotype) would manifest different secondary structures arising from isotype-induced variation in the V-C regions after Ag binding. We hypothesized that such effects could translate into differences in Circular Dichroism (CD) upon Ag-Ab complexes formation. Consequently we studied the interaction of a set of V region identical IgG(1), IgG(2a), IgG(2b) and IgG(3) mAbs with glucuronoxylomannan (GXM). The native CD spectra of the pairs IgG(1)/IgG(2a) and IgG(3)/IgG(2b) were strikingly similar, implying similar secondary structure content. GXM binding by IgG(1), IgG(2a), IgG(2b) and IgG(3) produced different CD changes, with the pairs IgG(1)/IgG(2a) and IgG(3)/IgG(2b) again manifesting qualitatively similar trends in secondary structure changes. The magnitude of the changes differed among the isotypes with IgG(2a)>IgG(3)>IgG(2b)>IgG(1). These differences in CD changes were interpreted to reflect differences in V-C secondary structures.

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