The response of C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice to immunization with proteins coupled to (4-hydroxy-3-nitrophenyl)acetyl (NP) is dominated by distinctly different sets of antibodies. The VH gene family previously shown to be involved in the C57BL/6 response has now been shown to have highly homologous counterparts in BALB/c but of five sequenced BALB/c VH regions, none appeared likely to be able to encode an NP-binding protein. The active VH region from a BALB/c hybridoma making a characteristic anti-NP antibody was recovered and sequenced and shown to be quite different from the VH gene family involved in the C57BL/6 response. Comparison of the variation of the closely related VH regions between the two mouse strains showed that there are separate types of evolutionary pressures on the framework and complementarity-determining regions. The molecular basis for strain-specific immune responses appears to be that the structural divergence of VH regions between mouse strains is great enough that different strains use different VH regions for making the predominant class of antibodies to a specific hapten.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology