Fatty acids as haptens: exploring the limits of antigenicity

Harris, Lucy C. and Davis, Paul J. and James, David C. (2003) Fatty acids as haptens: exploring the limits of antigenicity. Molecular Immunology, 40 (6). pp. 381-389. ISSN 0161-5890. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Fatty acids (FAs) are relatively small, hydrophobic and highly mobile molecular structures with vital biological functions and a ubiquitous distribution. Surprisingly, however, they can be rendered immunogenic. We have synthesised a novel immunogen in which dicarboxylic linoleic acid was conjugated to a carrier protein. Dicarboxylic fatty acids (DCA) differ from their normal counterparts only by their possession of a carboxyl group at each end of the molecule. When conjugated to proteins as haptens, they are, therefore, presented to the immune system with a free carboxyl group at the distal end, instead of a methyl group. Polyclonal IgG antibodies raised in response to this unique immunogen could bind not only conjugated hapten with high affinity, but also the equivalent free FA in mono and dicarboxylic form. Similar conjugates constructed from normal FAs produced much weaker antibody responses and could scarcely be considered antigenic at all. The cross-reactivities of the anti-DCA antibodies with FA variants differing in the number, position and configuration of their double bonds showed that the antibody paratope (binding site) was structured to accommodate the hapten in a way that depended on the precise shape of the acyl chain. We suggest that FAs become much more effective as B-cell epitopes when presented with their hydrophilic carboxyl group exposed on the surface of immunogenic conjugates. This type of epitope is determined by the particular double bond pattern of the unsaturated acyl chain, as well as the polar head group.

Item Type: Article
Additional information: 0161-5890 (Print) Journal Article Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Uncontrolled keywords: Animals Fatty Acids/*immunology/metabolism Haptens/*immunology Humans Immunoglobulin G/*immunology
Subjects: Q Science
Divisions: Faculties > Science Technology and Medical Studies > School of Biosciences > Protein Science Group
Depositing User: Sue Davies
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2008 05:25
Last Modified: 16 May 2014 15:45
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/6495 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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