Structural Features of Antibody Variable Regions

Most of the sequence differences and variability among different antibodies are confined to three short stretches in the V region of the heavy chain and to three stretches in the V region of the light chain. These diverse stretches are known as hypervariable segments, and they correspond to three protruding loops connecting adjacent strands of the ß sheets that make up the V domains of Ig heavy and light chain proteins (Fig. 5-5). The hypervariable regions are each about 10 amino acid residues long, and they are held in place by the more conserved framework sequences that make up the Ig domain of the V region. The genetic mechanisms leading to amino acid

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