Biochemical Genetics

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 109–117 | Cite as

Evolutionary pattern of specificity regions in light chains of immunoglobulins

  • Thomas H. Jukes


An examination of the distribution of changes of single amino acids in the specificity (S) regions of light chains of immunoglobulins G shows that the changes, in terms of minimum base changes at each site, correspond quite well with the Poisson distribution, if it is assumed that approximately ten sites are invariant and five in the “hinge” region are hypervariable. The findings are concordant with other evidence that the S regions of light chains are evolving in a manner similar to that in other series of homologous proteins, such as the cytochromes c and hemoglobins, by the incorporation of randomly occurring adaptive or neutral point mutations into the genome and the discarding of deleterious point mutations. It is suggested that mutations in S regions are predominantly adaptive and that those in C regions are usually deleterious, thus accounting for the variability of S and the constancy of C sequences.


Point Mutation Light Chain Specificity Region Poisson Distribution Homologous Protein 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas H. Jukes
    • 1
  1. 1.Space Sciences LaboratoryUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeley

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