The combining sites of 12 mouse hybridoma antibodies to dextran B1355S have been characterized by quantitative precipitin assay. All antibodies preferentially bind the immunizing antigen B1355S and two other class I dextrans, B1498S and B1501S, but show substantial differences in the extents to which they cross react with class I dextrans, suggesting their clustering into five groups. Three myeloma proteins, CAL20 TEPC1035, J558, and MOPC104E, which bind dextran B1355S, each fall into a different group. There appears to be a substantial, but imperfect, correlation of DH region structure and individual idiotypic determinants with dextran binding patterns. Proteins with RY DH segments and IdI (J558) idiotypes are in groups 1 or 3, and proteins with YD DH segments and IdI (MOPC104E) idiotypes are exclusively in group 5. However, identical patterns of precipitin curves accompany very different sequences in CDR3. Antibodies of group 1, which react only with class II dextrans, differ the most in primary sequence, a finding suggesting that subsites responsible for cross reactivity with class I dextrans may be blocked and that this may be effected by side chains of different amino acids. This finding delineates a new aspect of the relationship of variability in amino acid sequence to antibody complementarity.

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