We have found that syngeneic Ab2s in the antiarsonate system are serologically and structurally similar to one another. In contrast, the allogeneic Ab2 response is heterogeneous and derives from a large number of unrelated germline gene segments. The Ab2 response of the BALB/c strain to polyclonal A/J Ars A molecules can probably best be compared with a response to a foreign protein and might have been predicted in a strain that completely lacks the H chain V region gene from which the Ab1 derives. Partial variable region sequences of Ab2s from three other systems in addition to previously reported Ab2 structures indicates that this difference in allogeneic vs. syngeneic Ab2s may be a general phenomena. These data support Jerne's hypothesis of complementary V region genes existing in the germline. However, there is good evidence that these antiidiotypic antibodies are not derived directly from the germline, as somatic processes most likely play an important role in their generation. The D segments of Ab2s in the arsonate system as well as in other systems, are novel in structure and cannot easily be explained by previously described germline D segments. D-D fusion may play a role in the generation of the third hypervariable region in these antibodies.

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