The crystal structures of a human IgG antibody molecule Kol and a human Fc fragment have been determined at 4-Å and 3.5-Å resolution respectively, by isomorphous replacement. The electron-density maps were interpreted in terms of immunoglobulin domains based on the Rei and McPC 603 models (Kol) and by model-building (Fc). The Fab parts of Kol have a different quaternary structure from that observed in isolated crystalline Fab fragments, there being no longitudinal V-C contact in Kol. The Fc part C terminal to the hinge is disordered in the Kol crystals. It is suggested that the Kol molecule is flexible in solution, whereas fragments are rigid. In the Fc fragment both CH3 and CH2 show the immunoglobulin fold. The C H3 dimer aggregates as CH1-CL while C H2 are widely separated from each other. The carbohydrate bound to Fc is in fixed position. From these structures a hypothetical liganded antibody molecule has been constructed, which is assumed to be rigid.
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