Antibody structure

Antibodies are members of a group of proteins known collectively as immunoglobulins. The name is derived from the observation that during electrophoresis of blood plasma the proteins associated with antibody activity migrate with the gamma globulin fraction.

>- Protein structure see Suction 11.1.

Immunoglobulins are glycoprotein molecules composed of four polypeptide chains linked covalently by disulphide bonds (Figure 7.4). The four polypeptides consist of two identical chains of relative molecular mass 23000 and 50000-75000 and are designated light and heavy chains respectively. In addition to the interchain disulphide bonds, each polypeptide contains a number of intrachain disulphide bonds which divide up the polypeptide chain into a series of domains. In addition, immunoglobulins possess an area known as the hinge region which allows for flexibility of the chains in relation to one another.

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