We have obtained amino acid sequences (by mRNA and amino acid sequencing) for two IgE kappa mAb that have specificity for the Ars hapten group and are related to the major idiotypic family, CRIA (crossreactive idiotype A), in the A strain of mouse. One mAb, SE20.2, fully expresses CRIA; the other, SE1.3, possesses some but not all of the characteristic idiotopes. Both IgE proteins contain VH and V kappa segments that are closely related to those associated with CRIA. The D segment of SE20.2 is also typical of CRIA+ mAb, but that of SE1.3 is one amino acid residue longer. Chain recombination experiments indicated that the L chain of SE1.3 is fully capable of supporting CRIA expression. Its deficiency with respect to idiotopes of CRIA was attributed to the extra amino acid in the D region and/or substitutions in the VH segment. A major objective was to ascertain the frequency of somatic mutations in IgE. For the VH segment (amino acids 1-98) of SE20.2, there are only three nucleotide differences and one uncertainty with respect to the nucleotide sequence of the germline gene associated with CRIA. A somewhat higher frequency of substitutions is present in the VH segment of SE1.3. The VK amino acid sequences of the IgE proteins are nearly identical to those of a prototype of the CRIA family, mAb R16.7. The results are discussed with reference to the mechanism of the IgM to IgE switch.

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