K and L light chains-why?

darren at indy.bio.uts.edu.au darren at indy.bio.uts.edu.au
Sun Nov 8 23:45:19 EST 1998


A general question about light chain isotypes: in Ig molecules the HEAVY
chain isotypes have well-defined seperate roles, eg differential binding to
Fc Receptors, that can mean functional differences between the classes.
However, I haven't read much about possible functional differences between
kappa and lambda light chains. Also, it seems to me that K or L light chains
associate haphazardly with the different Heavy chain isotypes; there is no
real pattern of K in some situations and L in others.  Can anyone tell me if
there is a functional "raison d'etre" for the existence of these 2 different
light chain isotypes. I am particularly interested in the evolutionary
rationale as to why 2 types of light chain may be an evolutionarily
progressive step over 1 light- chain type.

Thank you,

darren

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