Idiotypic Markers and the Three-Dimensional Structure of Immunoglobulins
A discussion of the structural correlates of idiotypic markers is a difficult task at the present state of our knowledge of the three-dimensional structure of immunoglobulins and of the amino acid sequence definition of idiotypic markers. Only a few three-dimensional immunoglobulin structures have been determined at high resolution (reviewed in Refs. 1–3), and none of these are from immunoglobulin molecules that possess the major idiotypic markers associated with some immune responses(4).In addition, the characterization of idiotypic markers by protein sequencing or by DNA sequencing has not progressed enough to give suitably general examples that could facilitate the conformational analysis of idiotypic markers. Another conceptual difficulty arises from the fact that idiotypes are defined operationally, often by serological reactions whose complexity escapes accurate structural description. Here we enter the area of protein-protein interactions for which we have few adequate examples that have been studied with the structural detail that would be necessary for the present analysis. In these interactions the contacting residues could be capable of assuming several conformational states one of which will be selected for the formation of a stable complex.
KeywordsHypervariable Region Amino Acid Side Chain Immunoglobulin Heavy Chain Serological Reaction Antigenic Marker
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