A central tenet of the current understanding of the relationship between Ab structure and function is that the variable region domain is solely responsible for Ag specificity. However, this view was recently challenged by the observation that families of mouse-human chimeric Abs with identical V regions demonstrate differences in fine specificity and by reports of changes in Ab Id structure with isotype switching. Here we revisited this question by evaluating the reactivity of two families of murine IgG switch variants that differed in V region usage for Cryptococcus neoformans glucuronoxylomannan, glucuronoxylomannan peptide mimetics, and anti-Id mAbs. The results reveal isotype-related differences in fine specificities and Id for two mAb isotype switched families, thus establishing the validity of this observation with sets of homologous Abs. The results suggest that the C region affects V region protein conformation, leading to differences in fine specificity and Id. The finding that isotype can affect fine specificity has major implications for current concepts of the generation of secondary responses, idiotypic network regulation, and isotype function. Given that isotype class switching and Ig gene somatic hypermutation share molecular mechanisms, these observations unify these processes in the sense that both can alter specificity and affinity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy