Genetic Model Compatible with Ig Structure

The results of the immunoglobulin-sequencing studies described in Chapter 4 revealed a number of features of immunoglobulin structure that were difficult to reconcile with classic genetic models. Any viable model of the immunoglobulin genes had to account for the following properties of antibodies:

■ The vast diversity of antibody specificities

■ The presence in Ig heavy and light chains of a variable region at the amino-terminal end and a constant region at the carboxyl-terminal end

■ The existence of isotypes with the same antigenic specificity, which result from the association of a given variable region with different heavy-chain constant regions

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