Antibody Structure Problem Set
Problem 4. Antigen epitopes
Tutorial to help answer the questionThe epitope is defined as the part of the antigen that is recognized by antibody. The structural studies using hen egg white lysozyme as an antigen show that the epitope is:
The epitope includes the regions of the antigen (green) that are contacted by hypervariable regions (purple) of the antibody. The hypervariable regions are on the same side of the light and heavy chains of the antibody to maximize contact with antigen, allowing strong and specific binding.
The hypervariable region has been removed in the image below. The amino acids in the framework region do not directly interact with the antigen. The role the framework region is to hold the six hypervariable loops of the light and heavy chain in position to contact the epitope on the antigen.
This animation allows you to better visualize the nature of the antigen antibody contacts.
The University of Arizona
Tuesday, June 20, 2000
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