Ronald Jemmerson

University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, Minnesota, United States

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Publications (69)468.36 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Cytochrome c (cyt c) is a cationic hemoprotein of ca. 100 amino acid residues that exhibits exceptional functional versatility. While its primary function is electron transfer in the respiratory chain, cyt c is also recognized as a key component of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway, the mitochondrial oxidative protein folding machinery and presumably as a redox sensor in the cytosol, along with other reported functions. Transition to alternative conformations and gain-of-peroxidase activity are thought to further enable the multiple functions of cyt c and its translocation across cellular compartments. In vitro, direct interactions of cyt c with cardiolipin, post-translational modifications such as tyrosine nitration, phosphorylation, methionine sulfoxidation, mutations and even fine changes in electrical fields lead to a variety of conformational states that may be of biological relevance. The identification of these alternative conformations and the elucidation of their function in vivo continue to be a major challenge. Here, we unify knowledge on the structural flexibility of cyt c that supports functional moonlighting and review biochemical and immunochemical evidence confirming that cyt c undergoes conformational changes during normal and altered cellular homeostasis.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Biochemistry
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    Full-text · Dataset · Jan 2013
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    ABSTRACT: The BH3-only protein, Noxa, is induced in response to apoptotic stimuli, such as DNA damage, hypoxia, and proteasome inhibition in most human cells. Noxa is constitutively expressed in proliferating cells of hematopoietic lineage and required for apoptosis in response to glucose stress. We show that Noxa is phosphorylated on a serine residue (S(13)) in the presence of glucose. Phosphorylation promotes its cytosolic sequestration and suppresses its apoptotic function. We identify Cdk5 as the Noxa kinase and show that Cdk5 knockdown or expression of a Noxa S(13) to A mutant increases sensitivity to glucose starvation, confirming that the phosphorylation is protective. Both glucose deprivation and Cdk5 inhibition promote apoptosis by dephosphorylating Noxa. Paradoxically, Noxa stimulates glucose consumption and may enhance glucose turnover via the pentose phosphate pathway rather than through glycolysis. We propose that Noxa plays both growth-promoting and proapoptotic roles in hematopoietic cancers with phospho-S(13) as the glucose-sensitive toggle switch controlling these opposing functions.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2010 · Molecular cell
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    ABSTRACT: New biomarkers that replace or are used in conjunction with the current ovarian cancer diagnostic antigen, CA125, are needed for detection of ovarian cancer in the presurgical setting, as well as for detection of disease recurrence. We previously demonstrated the upregulation of leucine-rich alpha-2-glycoprotein-1 (LRG1) in the sera of ovarian cancer patients compared to healthy women using quantitative mass spectrometry. LRG1 was quantified by ELISA in serum from two relatively large cohorts of women with ovarian cancer and benign gynecological disease. The expression of LRG1 in ovarian cancer tissues and cell lines was examined by gene microarray, reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), Western blot, immunocytochemistry and mass spectrometry. Mean serum LRG1 was higher in 58 ovarian cancer patients than in 56 healthy women (89.33 ± 77.90 vs. 42.99 ± 9.88 ug/ml; p = 0.0008) and was highest among stage III/IV patients. In a separate set of 193 pre-surgical samples, LRG1 was higher in patients with serous or clear cell ovarian cancer (145.82 ± 65.99 ug/ml) compared to patients with benign gynecological diseases (82.53 ± 76.67 ug/ml, p < 0.0001). CA125 and LRG1 levels were moderately correlated (r = 0.47, p < 0.0001). LRG1 mRNA levels were higher in ovarian cancer tissues and cell lines compared to their normal counterparts when analyzed by gene microarray and RT-PCR. LRG1 protein was detected in ovarian cancer tissue samples and cell lines by immunocytochemistry and Western blotting. Multiple iosforms of LRG1 were observed by Western blot and were shown to represent different glycosylation states by digestion with glycosidase. LRG1 protein was also detected in the conditioned media of ovarian cancer cell culture by ELISA, Western blotting, and mass spectrometry. Serum LRG1 was significantly elevated in women with ovarian cancer compared to healthy women and women with benign gynecological disease, and was only moderately correlated with CA125. Ovarian cancer cells secrete LRG1 and may contribute directly to the elevated levels of LRG1 observed in the serum of ovarian cancer patients. Future studies will determine whether LRG1 may serve as a biomarker for presurgical diagnosis, disease recurrence, and/or as a target for therapy.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2010 · Journal of Ovarian Research
  • Ramil Codina · Amelia Vanasse · Ameeta Kelekar · Vaiva Vezys · Ronald Jemmerson
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    ABSTRACT: Previously we reported that serum leucine-rich alpha-2-glycoprotein-1 (LRG) binds cytochrome c (Cyt c; Cummings et al., Apoptosis 11:1121-1129, 2009). Here we show that LRG binding to Cyt c is similar to that of Apaf-1. LRG and Apaf-1 share partial amino acid sequences, compete for binding Cyt c, and are inhibited by modification at lysine 72 in Cyt c. However, in contrast to Apaf-1, LRG acts as a survival factor in vitro rather than a pro-apoptotic factor. By depleting LRG from culture medium we found that LRG protects against a toxic effect of exogenous Cyt c on lymphocytes that would otherwise result in an apoptotic phenotype. LRG, as well as antibodies specific for Cyt c, increased cell viability in the absence of added Cyt c indicating that Cyt c released by dying cells in the cultures is itself toxic. Protection from extracellular Cyt c-induced lymphotoxicity appears to involve an active mechanism rather than steric hindrance of Cyt c. Thus, serum LRG when bound to extracellular Cyt c that is released from apoptotic cells acts as a survival factor for lymphocytes and possibly other cells that are susceptible to the toxic effect of extracellular Cyt c.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2009 · Apoptosis
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    ABSTRACT: Native cytochrome c (cyt c) has a compact tertiary structure with a hexacoordinated heme iron and functions in electron transport in mitochondria and apoptosis in the cytoplasm. However, the possibility that protein modifications confer additional functions to cyt c has not been explored. Disruption of methionine 80 (M80)-Fe ligation of cyt c under nitrative stress has been reported. To model this alteration and determine if it confers new properties to cyt c, a cyt c mutant (M80A) was constitutively expressed in cells. M80A-cyt c has increased peroxidase activity and is spontaneously released from mitochondria, translocating to the cytoplasm and nucleus in the absence of apoptosis. Moreover, M80A models endogenously nitrated cyt c because nitration of WT-cyt c is associated with its translocation to the cytoplasm and nucleus. Further, M80A cyt c may up-regulate protective responses to nitrative stress. Our findings raise the possibility that endogenous protein modifications that disrupt the M80-Fe ligation (such as tyrosine nitration) stimulate nuclear translocation and confer new functions to cyt c in nonapoptotic cells.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2009 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Leucine-rich alpha-2-glycoprotein-1 (LRG) is a serum glycoprotein of unknown function that has shown promise based on qualitative assessments as a biomarker for certain diseases including microbial infections and cancer. However, the lack of a quantitative assay for LRG has limited its application. Here an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for quantifying LRG in human serum is described in which cytochrome c is employed as the capturing ligand and a monoclonal antibody specific for LRG is used to detect the captured glycoprotein. Application of this assay in quantifying LRG in various patients' sera is demonstrated. The concentration of LRG in sera of control subjects as determined by this assay is approximately 50 microg/ml. Consistent with expectations from published reports, LRG was found to be significantly elevated in the sera of some patients with a bacterial infection (toxic shock syndrome, TSS). LRG was only slightly elevated in patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus as compared to uninfected control subjects, while normal levels of LRG were observed in patients with non-infectious diseases (inflammatory arthritis and neurological disorders, primarily Parkinson's disease). Although LRG and C-reactive protein (CRP) are both produced by the liver and are classified as acute-phase proteins, there was no significant correlation between the levels of LRG and CRP in the sera of the patients. Thus, LRG and CRP measurements are non-redundant and indicate different physiological contexts. The ELISA described in this report should be useful to further assess serum LRG as a biomarker for clinical diagnostics.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2008 · Journal of Immunological Methods

  • No preview · Conference Paper · Jan 2007
  • Chad Cummings · Jennifer Walder · Amy Treeful · Ronald Jemmerson
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    ABSTRACT: Cytochrome c (Cyt c) has been implicated as a serum marker for aberrant apoptosis and, thus, has considerable clinical potential. Using a sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) we found that the sensitivity of Cyt c detection is reduced in the presence of serum. The inhibitory factor responsible was purified from both fetal bovine serum and human serum employing standard chromatography procedures followed by affinity chromatography on Affi-Gel 10-bound Cyt c. In SDS-PAGE, bands at 44 kD and 50 kD were observed for the bovine and human proteins, respectively. Mass spectrometry analysis identified the serum inhibitory factor as leucine-rich alpha-2-glycoprotein-1 (LRalpha2GP1). This identification may lead to a modified ELISA to quantify total Cyt c in patients' sera. LRalpha2GP1 is the first extracellular ligand for Cyt c that has been identified. A physiological function associated with binding is suggested.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2006 · APOPTOSIS
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    ABSTRACT: Cleaved or truncated BID (tBID) is known to oligomerize both BAK and BAX. Previously, BAK and BAX lacing the C-terminal fragment (BAXDeltaC) were shown to induce modest cytochrome c (Cyt c) release from rat brain mitochondria when activated by tBID. We now show that tBID plus monomeric full-length BAX induce extensive release of Cyt c, Smac/DIABLO, and Omi/HtrA2 (but not endonuclease G and the apoptosis inducing factor) comparable to the release induced by alamethicin. This occurs independently of the permeability transition without overt changes in mitochondrial morphology. The mechanism of the release may involve formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and activation of calcium-independent phospholipase A(2) (iPLA(2)). Indeed, increased ROS production and activated iPLA(2) were observed prior to massive Cyt c release. Furthermore, the extent of inhibition of Cyt c release correlated with the degree of suppression of iPLA(2) by the inhibitors propranolol, dibucaine, 4-bromophenacyl bromide, and bromenol lactone. Consistent with a requirement for iPLA(2) in Cyt c release from brain mitochondria, synthetic liposomes composed of lipids mimicking the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM) but lacing iPLA(2) failed to release 10 kDa fluorescent dextran (FD-10) in response to tBID plus BAX. We propose that tBID plus BAX activate ROS generation, which subsequently augments iPLA(2) activity leading to changes in the OMM that allow translocation of certain mitochondrial proteins from the intermembrane space.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2005 · Journal of Neurochemistry
  • Ronald Jemmerson · Janet M Dubinsky · Nickolay Brustovetsky
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    ABSTRACT: Apoptosis is critical for normal development and tissue homeostasis. However, its abnormal occurrence has been implicated in a number of disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases and stroke. Translocation of cytochrome c (Cyt c) from mitochondria to the cytoplasm is a key step in the initiation and/or amplification of apoptosis. Here we discuss Cyt c release in apoptosis with its impact on the CNS and review our studies of Cyt c release from isolated rat brain mitochondria in response to several insults. Calcium-induced Cyt c release, as occurs in neurons during stroke and ischemia, involves rupture of the mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM) and can be blocked by inhibitors of the mitochondrial permeability transition (mPT). Thus, inhibitors of the mPT have shown efficacy in animal models of ischemia. In contrast, proapoptotic proteins, such as BID, BAX, and BAK, induce Cyt c release independently of the mPT without lysing the MOM. Several inhibitors of BAX-induced Cyt c release have shown promise in models of CNS apoptosis. Because of their distinct mechanisms for Cyt c release, both the mPT and proapoptotic proteins should be targeted for effective clinical intervention in CNS disorders involving apoptosis.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2005 · Antioxidants and Redox Signaling
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    ABSTRACT: The mechanisms of truncated BID (tBID)-induced Cyt c release from non-synaptosomal brain mitochondria were examined. Addition of tBID to mitochondria induced partial Cyt c release which was inhibited by anti-BAK antibodies, implicating BAK. Immunoblotting showed the presence of BAK, but not BAX, in brain mitochondria. tBID did not release Cyt c from rat liver mitochondria, which lacked both BAX and BAK. This indicated that tBID did not act independently of BAX and BAK. tBID plus monomeric BAX produced twice as much Cyt c release as did tBID or oligomeric BAX alone. Neither tBID alone nor in combination with BAX induced mitochondrial swelling. In both cases Cyt c release was insensitive to cyclosporin A plus ADP, inhibitors of the mitochondrial permeability transition (mPT). Recombinant Bcl-xL inhibited Cyt c release induced by tBID alone or in combination with monomeric BAX. Koenig's polyanion, an inhibitor of VDAC, suppressed tBID-induced Cyt c release from brain mitochondria mediated by BAK but not by BAX. Thus, tBID can induce mPT-independent Cyt c release from brain mitochondria by interacting with exogenous BAX and/or with endogenous BAK that may involve VDAC. In contrast, neither adenylate kinase nor Smac/DIABLO was released from isolated rat brain mitochondria via BAK or BAX.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2003 · Journal of Neurochemistry
  • Nickolay Brustovetsky · Ronald Jemmerson · Janet M Dubinsky
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    ABSTRACT: To determine if calcium could release Cytochrome c (Cyt c) from brain mitochondria without activating the permeability transition (mPT), brain mitochondria were prepared in two different ways. Digitonin was used to lyse synaptosomes and release synaptosomal mitochondria or a Percoll gradient was used to separate non-synaptosomal mitochondria from the synaptosomes. In gradient-purified mitochondria, low levels of added digitonin produced swelling and Cyt c release. Digitonin augmented Ca(2+)-induced Cyt c release that was insensitive to the mPT inhibitors, cyclosporin A CsA and ADP. Similarly, in mitochondria prepared with digitonin, these inhibitors also failed to prevent Ca(2+)-induced Cyt c release. Thus the mPT-independent, Ca(2+)-induced Cyt c release pathway was attributable to alteration of the permeability properties of the outer mitochondrial membrane by digitonin.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2002 · Neuroscience Letters
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    ABSTRACT: : Exposure of various neuronal cells or cell lines to high concentrations of 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+), the active metabolite of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP), results in cell death. Recently, it has been reported that low concentrations of MPP+ induce apoptosis in susceptible neurons. We have further characterized MPP+-mediated toxicity of cultured cerebellar granule neurons (CGNs) and found that exposure of CGNs to relatively low concentrations of MPP+ results in apoptosis, whereas higher concentrations result in necrosis. Cotreatment of CGNs with MPP+ and the tetrapeptide inhibitor of caspase-3-like proteases, acetyl-DEVD-CHO, markedly attenuates apoptotic but not necrotic death of these neurons. The more specific inhibitor of caspase-1-like proteases, acetyl-YVAD-CHO, however, was ineffective against MPP+ neurotoxicity. Moreover, cytoplasmic extracts prepared from MPP+-treated CGNs contain markedly increased protease activity that cleaves the caspase-3 substrate acetyl-DEVD-p-nitroaniline. Finally, the cytoplasmic concentration of the apoptogenic protein cytochrome c was increased in a time-dependent fashion in MPP+-treated CGNs before the onset of apoptosis. Our data confirm that the neurotoxicity of MPP+ is due to both necrosis and apoptosis and suggest that the latter is mediated by activation of a caspase-3-like protease.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2002 · Journal of Neurochemistry
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    R Jemmerson · B LaPlante · A Treeful
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    ABSTRACT: Cytochrome c (Cyt c) has been shown to translocate from mitochondria to the cytoplasm of cells early in apoptosis. In this study sandwich ELISAs for Cyt c were used to determine if Cyt c is ultimately released from apoptotic and necrotic cells. Gel-filtration and cation-exchange chromatographies, in conjunction with immunoreactivity in ELISA, and Western blotting were employed to examine the integrity of the released Cyt c. The results show that Cyt c is released from both apoptotic and necrotic cells in an intact, monomeric form. The release of Cyt c from apoptotic splenocytes began within 2 h following apoptotic insult, while Cyt c was immediately released following induction of necrosis by heat shock. These findings may be relevant to understanding how Cyt c becomes a target for antibody production in some patients with systemic autoimmune diseases.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2002 · Cell Death and Differentiation
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    ABSTRACT: The mechanisms of Ca2+-induced release of Cytochrome c (Cyt c) from rat brain mitochondria were examined quantitatively using a capture ELISA. In 75 or 125 mm KCl-based media 1.4 micromol Ca2+/mg protein caused depolarization and mitochondrial swelling. However, this resulted in partial Cyt c release only in 75 mm KCl. The release was inhibited by Ru360, an inhibitor of the Ca2+ uniporter, and by cyclosporin A plus ADP, a combination of mitochondrial permeability transition inhibitors. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed that Ca2+-induced swelling caused rupture of the outer membrane only in 75 mm KCl. Koenig's polyanion, an inhibitor of mitochondrial porin (VDAC), enhanced swelling and amplified Cyt c release. Dextran T70 that is known to enhance mitochondrial contact site formation did not prevent Cyt c release. Exposure of cultured cortical neurons to 500 microM glutamate for 5 min caused Cyt c release into the cytosol 30 min after glutamate removal. MK-801 or CsA inhibited this release. Thus, the release of Cyt c from CNS mitochondria induced by Ca2+ in vitro as well as in situ involved the mPT and appeared to require the rupture of the outer membrane.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2002 · Journal of Neurochemistry
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    B J Soltys · D W Andrews · R Jemmerson · R S Gupta
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    ABSTRACT: We used quantitative immunogold electron microscopy to evaluate the subcellular distribution of cytochrome-c in normal rat tissues, employing a wide variety of monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies against mammalian cytochrome-c. Immunogold labeling of tissues embedded in the acrylic resin LR Gold shows highly specific labeling of mitochondria in all tissues examined, including adrenal gland, cerebellum, cerebral cortex, heart, kidney, liver, pituitary, pancreas, skeletal muscle, spleen and thyroid. In pancreatic acinar cells and anterior pituitary, however, there was also strong cytochrome-c reactivity in zymogen granules and growth hormone granules, respectively. In the pancreas, strong immunoreactivity is also detected in condensing vacuoles and in the acinar lumen. Immunocytochemical controls included (i) use of monoclonal antibodies to horse cytochrome-c which recognize an epitope not present in rat cytochrome-c, (ii) preadsorption of antibodies with purified cytochrome-c, and (iii) omission of the primary antibody. The indicated presence of cytochrome-c outside mitochondria in certain tissues under normal physiological conditions raises interesting questions concerning translocation mechanisms and the cellular functions of cytochrome-c.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2001 · Cell Biology International
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    ABSTRACT: The B lymphocyte response to pigeon cytochrome c (CYT) in BALB/c mice was previously shown to initiate as a heteroclitic response specific for the self antigen mouse CYT. As the immune response progressed, the mAb that were produced became less heteroclitic and often bound pigeon CYT with higher affinity than they bound mouse CYT [Minnerath, J. et al., 1995. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 92, 12379-12383]. To study the basis for heterocliticity and its loss in this system, the H and L chain amino acid sequences of anti-pigeon CYT mAb obtained from the primary and secondary Ab responses were first compared. The most frequent somatic mutations and Ig gene joints were then introduced into an engineered single-chain Fv (scFv) that expressed the germline-encoded V(H) and V(L) amino acid sequences. The effects of those changes on the on- rate, off-rate, and affinity constants in binding both mouse and pigeon CYT were determined by surface plasmon resonance. In this system, the heterocliticity of primary mAb was largely due to a decreased on-rate constant for binding pigeon CYT relative to mouse CYT. Various combinations of the three frequently occurring H chain somatic mutations (H31, H56, and H58) increased the on-rate constant to maximal levels. Only one of the mutations (H58) decreased the off-rate constant when in combination with the other mutations and the effect of H58 was greater for scFv binding mouse CYT than pigeon CYT. Consequently, the mutated scFv and many secondary mAb remained heteroclitic, although their affinities for pigeon CYT increased. Secondary mAb that were no longer heteroclitic expressed non-canonical amino acid sequences in the V(H)-D-J(H) joint in the context of the canonical V genes or expressed different V genes. In addition to providing insight into the molecular basis for heterocliticity, our findings confirm that both faster on-rate and slower off-rate constants are favored during affinity maturation of the Ab response.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2000 · Molecular Immunology
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    C S Raman · Ronald Jemmerson · Barry T. Nall
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    ABSTRACT: The rate of macromolecular surface formation in yeast iso-2 cytochrome c and its site-specific mutant, N52I iso-2, has been studied using a monoclonal antibody that recognizes a tertiary epitope including K58 and H39. The results indicate that epitope refolding occurs after fast folding but prior to slow folding, in contrast to horse cytochrome c where surface formation occurs early. The antibody-detected (ad) kinetic phase accompanying epitope formation has k(ad) = 0.2 s(-1) and is approximately 40-fold slower than the fastest detectable event in the folding of yeast iso-2 cytochrome c (k2f approximately 8 s(-1)), but occurs prior to the absorbance- and fluorescence-detected slow folding steps (k1a approximately 0.06 s(-1); k1b approximately 0.09 s(-1)). N5I iso-2 cytochrome c exhibits similar kinetic behavior with respect to epitope formation. A detailed dissection of the mechanistic differences between the folding pathways of horse and yeast cytochromes c identifies possible reasons for the slow surface formation in the latter. Our results suggest that non-native ligation involving H33 or H39 during refolding may slow down the formation of the tertiary epitope in iso-2 cytochrome c. This study illustrates that surface formation can be coupled to early events in protein folding. Thus, the rate of macromolecular surface formation is fine tuned by the residues that make up the surface and the interactions they entertain during refolding.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2000 · Protein Science
  • Jiang Liu · Lusha Liu · Ronald Jemmerson
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    ABSTRACT: Affinity maturation in the B lymphocyte response to a protein epitope appears to be largely due to a decrease in the off-rate constant of the antibodies (Ab) resulting from somatic mutation without a significant increase in the on-rate constant. Here, we show by site-directed mutagenesis of a germline encoded single-chain Fv that somatic mutations frequently selected in the Ab response to mouse cytochrome c (CYT) at heavy (H) chain positions 31 and 58 actually cause a two and three-fold decrease, respectively, in the on-rate constant as well as a two and five-fold decrease, respectively, in the off-rate constant and together cause nearly an eight-fold decrease in the off-rate. However, additional selection for a tyrosine residue at position 96 in the V(kappa)-J(kappa) joint compensates for the decreased on-rate imposed by the somatic mutations. This allows for an increase in the affinity of Ab during the secondary response. Certain sequences at the V(H)-D-J(H) joint were also shown to maintain a normal on-rate constant in the context of the common H chain mutations and, in addition, to reduce the off-rate, thus increasing the affinity. The results support the idea that both faster on-rates and slower off-rates for B lymphocyte antigen-specific receptors are favored during the maturation of the Ab response to mouse CYT.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2000 · Molecular Immunology

Publication Stats

6k Citations
468.36 Total Impact Points


  • 1992-2010
    • University of Minnesota Duluth
      • Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
      Duluth, Minnesota, United States
  • 2002
    • University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview
      Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
  • 1998
    • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
      Ashburn, Virginia, United States
  • 1995
    • University of Illinois at Chicago
      • Department of Biological Sciences
      Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • 1982-1987
    • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
      Seattle, Washington, United States
  • 1979-1980
    • Northwestern University
      Evanston, Illinois, United States