K and L light chains-why?

darren at indy.bio.uts.edu.au darren at indy.bio.uts.edu.au
Sat Nov 14 18:58:27 EST 1998


Randy,

Thanks for your reply. You wrote that,

" Additionally, it appears an additional advantage is the ability of
alternate light chain usage to rescue B cells which have an unproductive
rearrangement of a previous light chain."

Does this mean that a B cell clone of low affinity for a particular ag may
switch light chains (say from K to L) as a sort of 'last gasp' attempt to
improve affinity, before it is clonally selected against? If so, can B cells
switch light chains in both directions, ie K -> L and L -> K, or is it a
one-way thing like H chain genes (IgM ->IgG only)? I suspect light chain
could go both ways because K and L loci are on different chromosomes (in
mammals) aren't they?

Regards,

Darren

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