Crystallographic refinement and atomic models of the intact immunoglobulin molecule Kol and its antigen-binding fragment at 3.0 Å and 1.9 Å resolution

M. Marquart, J. Deisenhofer, R. Huber

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The crystal structures of the intact immunoglobulin G1, (λ) Kol and its Fab fragment were crystallographically refined at 3.0 Å and 1.9 Å resolution, respectively. The methods used were real space refinement (RLSP) energy and residual refinement (EREF), phase combination, constrained rigid body refinement (CORELS) and difference and Fourier map inspection. The final R-values are 0.24 and 0.26. These analyses allowed the construction of atomic models of parts not seen in detail in the previous analyses at 5 Å and 3 Å resolution, respectively (Colman et al., 1976; Matsushima et al., 1978): i.e. the hinge segment, the hypervariable segments and their intimate interaction with the hinge segment of a crystallographically related molecule. The hinge segment forms a short poly-l-proline double helix from Cys527 to Cys530 (Eu numbering 226 to 230). The preceding segment forms an open turn of helix. This segment and the segment following the poly-l-proline part, which was found to be flexible in Fc fragment crystals (Deisenhofer et al., 1976) probably allow arm and stem movement of the antibody molecule. The combining site of Kol is compared with the combining site of Fab New (Saul et al., 1978). The narrow cleft formed by the hypervariable loops in Kol is filled with aromatic amino acid side-chains. In the crystal, the hypervariable loops contact the hinge and adjacent segments of a related molecule accompanied by a substantial loss in accessible surface area. This contact is preserved in Kol Fab crystals and presumably occurs in the Kol cryoprecipitate. A comparison of the quaternary structures of intact Kol and Fab New showed, in addition to the large change in elbow angle (Colman et al., 1976), changes in lateral domain association. These are discussed in the context of a possible signal transmission from the combining site to the distal end. An attempt was made to model build the IgG3 hinge segment, which is quadruplicated with respect to IgG1 (Michaelsen et al., 1977), on the basis of the Kol hinge structure. A polyproline double helix appeared to be the most plausible model. The Fc part was found to be disordered in intact Kol crystals (Colman et al., 1976). Refinement has reduced the electron density further in the crystal space, where the Fc parts must be located. Disorder, if static, must be fourfold or more in the crystalline state. Intensity measurements on Kol F(ab′)2 and their comparison with intact Kol crystals provide evidence that the disorder is predominantly of a static nature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-391
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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