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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The molecular organization of the protein HC-IgA complex (HC-IgA).

Complexes of protein HC and monoclonal IgA1 or IgA2 or polyclonal IgA were isolated from human blood plasma. Dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and immunoblotting showed that all complexes contain three types of chains: two light immunoglobulin chains, one regular IgA alpha-chain, and one chain with Mr = 90,000 carrying both alpha-chain and protein HC epitopes. The complexes were split into Fab alpha and Fc alpha fragments by bacterial IgA proteases. The protein HC epitopes were linked to the Fc fragments. Complexes of protein HC and an alpha-chain devoid of the variable region and the first heavy chain constant domain could also be demonstrated to be present in the blood plasma of a patient with alpha-heavy chain disease. Pepsin digestion of HC-IgA released a fragment containing all the protein HC epitopes and the C-terminal nonapeptide of the IgA alpha-chain. The light immunoglobulin chains, the regular alpha-chain, and the 90,000-Da chain from monoclonal HC-IgA1 were isolated by preparative dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and by repeated gel filtration in dodecyl sulfate-containing buffer. The N-terminal amino acid sequence of the alpha-chain was identical with that of a regular human heavy immunoglobulin chain of subgroup III. Subtractive degradations of the 90,000-Da chain displayed 2 amino acid residues in each position in a pattern suggesting simultaneous degradations of a chain identical with the regular alpha-chain of HC-IgA and of uncomplexed, low molecular weight, protein HC. All the results are compatible with a model for HC-IgA in which a single low molecular weight protein HC polypeptide chain is covalently linked, side by side, to the C-terminal nonapeptide of one of the two alpha-chains of a regular monomeric IgA unit.[1]


  1. The molecular organization of the protein HC-IgA complex (HC-IgA). Grubb, A., Méndez, E., Fernandez-Luna, J.L., López, C., Mihaesco, E., Vaerman, J.P. J. Biol. Chem. (1986) [Pubmed]
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