Alternative pathways of disulfide bond formation yield secretion-competent, stable and functional immunoglobulins

Yechiel Elkabetz, Ayala Ofir, Yair Argon, Shoshana Bar-Nun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Disulfide bonds within and between proteins are responsible for stabilizing folding and covalent assembly. They are thought to form by an obligatory pathway that leads to a single native structure compatible with secretion. We have previously demonstrated that the intradomain disulfide in the CH1 domain of the Ig γ2b heavy chains was dispensable for secretion [Elkabetz, Y., Argon, Y., Bar-Nun, S., 2005. Cysteines in CH1 underlie retention of unassembled Ig heavy chains. J. Biol. Chem. 280, 14402-14412]. Here we show that the heavy chain-light chain interchain disulfide is also dispensable. γ2b with mutated Cys128, which normally disulfide bonds with the light chain, still assembled with λI light chain into a secretion-competent, tetrameric IgG2b. This assembly comprised of a covalent homo-dimer of mutant heavy chains (C128S2) accompanied non-covalently by a covalent homo-dimer of light chains (λ2). The λ2 homo-dimer formed only upon association with C128S2, through disulfide bonding of the two "orphan" heavy chain-interacting Cys214 in λI. The unique Ig tetramer was secreted efficiently as a functional antibody whose antigen-binding capacity resembled that of normal IgG2b. Therefore, disulfide bonding of Ig manifests considerable plasticity and can generate more than one functional structure that is considered native by the cellular quality control system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-105
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 2008


FundersFunder number
National Institutes of HealthAG018001
Fogarty International CenterF06TW002378
United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation


    • Assembly
    • Disulfide bonds
    • IgG
    • Secretion


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