Non‐covalent interactions between Fab and Fc regions in immunoglobulin G molecules: Hydrogen – deuterium exchange studies

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To reveal non‐covalent interactions between the Fab and Fc regions of IgG molecules the average conformational free‐energy change (), associated with reversible micro‐unfoldings, was measured by hydrogen–deuterium exchange for the Fab and Fc fragments and the complete molecule. Human monoclonal IgG1 and pooled IgG samples were used in these experiments. Hydrogen–deuterium exchange data were summarized and compared in the form of exchange relaxation spectra. The experimentally observed relaxation spectrum of intact IgG could not be deduced by weighted summation of spectra measured for Fab and Fc fragments. A comparison of the measured and calculated data revealed a 5‐kJ/mol increase in the conformational free energy upon splitting the IgG molecule into two Fab and Fc pieces, i.e. an increase of conformational mobility occurred. This change can be explained either by related fluctuation patterns of the Fab and Fc pieces in the intact molecule or by a shielding effect on the contact surfaces. Both interpretations suppose non‐convalent interactions between Fab and Fc that can be a means of information transduction between recognition and effector sites. The pH dependence of the hydrogen–deuterium exchange also indicates interactions between the Fab and Fc regions. A shift in the relaxation spectra of the Fab fragment was observed between pH 8.2 and 7.3 revealing destabilization of the structure at lower pH. This effect is absent in the intact molecule, reflecting interactions that stabilize the Fab structure. Comparison of the relaxation spectra of Fab and Fc shows a difference of about 10 kJ/mol in the microstability of these fragments: the Fab part possesses more conformational flexibility (i.e. its microstability is smaller) than the Fc part.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-61
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry

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