Immunoglobulin Variable Region: That region of the immunoglobulin molecule that varies in its amino acid sequence and composition, and comprises the binding site for a specific antigen. It is located at the N-terminus of the Fab fragment of the immunoglobulin. It includes hypervariable regions (COMPLEMENTARITY DETERMINING REGIONS) and framework regions.Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains: The largest of polypeptide chains comprising immunoglobulins. They contain 450 to 600 amino acid residues per chain, and have molecular weights of 51-72 kDa.Somatic Hypermutation, Immunoglobulin: A programmed mutation process whereby changes are introduced to the nucleotide sequence of immunoglobulin gene DNA during development.Genes, Immunoglobulin: Genes encoding the different subunits of the IMMUNOGLOBULINS, for example the IMMUNOGLOBULIN LIGHT CHAIN GENES and the IMMUNOGLOBULIN HEAVY CHAIN GENES. The heavy and light immunoglobulin genes are present as gene segments in the germline cells. The completed genes are created when the segments are shuffled and assembled (B-LYMPHOCYTE GENE REARRANGEMENT) during B-LYMPHOCYTE maturation. The gene segments of the human light and heavy chain germline genes are symbolized V (variable), J (joining) and C (constant). The heavy chain germline genes have an additional segment D (diversity).Immunoglobulin Light Chains: Polypeptide chains, consisting of 211 to 217 amino acid residues and having a molecular weight of approximately 22 kDa. There are two major types of light chains, kappa and lambda. Two Ig light chains and two Ig heavy chains (IMMUNOGLOBULIN HEAVY CHAINS) make one immunoglobulin molecule.Binding Sites, Antibody: Local surface sites on antibodies which react with antigen determinant sites on antigens (EPITOPES.) They are formed from parts of the variable regions of FAB FRAGMENTS.B-Lymphocytes: Lymphoid cells concerned with humoral immunity. They are short-lived cells resembling bursa-derived lymphocytes of birds in their production of immunoglobulin upon appropriate stimulation.Hybridomas: Cells artificially created by fusion of activated lymphocytes with neoplastic cells. The resulting hybrid cells are cloned and produce pure MONOCLONAL ANTIBODIES or T-cell products, identical to those produced by the immunologically competent parent cell.Base Sequence: The sequence of PURINES and PYRIMIDINES in nucleic acids and polynucleotides. It is also called nucleotide sequence.Molecular Sequence Data: Descriptions of specific amino acid, carbohydrate, or nucleotide sequences which have appeared in the published literature and/or are deposited in and maintained by databanks such as GENBANK, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), National Biomedical Research Foundation (NBRF), or other sequence repositories.Amino Acid Sequence: The order of amino acids as they occur in a polypeptide chain. This is referred to as the primary structure of proteins. It is of fundamental importance in determining PROTEIN CONFORMATION.Immunoglobulins: Multi-subunit proteins which function in IMMUNITY. They are produced by B LYMPHOCYTES from the IMMUNOGLOBULIN GENES. They are comprised of two heavy (IMMUNOGLOBULIN HEAVY CHAINS) and two light chains (IMMUNOGLOBULIN LIGHT CHAINS) with additional ancillary polypeptide chains depending on their isoforms. The variety of isoforms include monomeric or polymeric forms, and transmembrane forms (B-CELL ANTIGEN RECEPTORS) or secreted forms (ANTIBODIES). They are divided by the amino acid sequence of their heavy chains into five classes (IMMUNOGLOBULIN A; IMMUNOGLOBULIN D; IMMUNOGLOBULIN E; IMMUNOGLOBULIN G; IMMUNOGLOBULIN M) and various subclasses.Immunoglobulin G: The major immunoglobulin isotype class in normal human serum. There are several isotype subclasses of IgG, for example, IgG1, IgG2A, and IgG2B.Immunoglobulin kappa-Chains: One of the types of light chains of the immunoglobulins with a molecular weight of approximately 22 kDa.Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell: A chronic leukemia characterized by abnormal B-lymphocytes and often generalized lymphadenopathy. In patients presenting predominately with blood and bone marrow involvement it is called chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL); in those predominately with enlarged lymph nodes it is called small lymphocytic lymphoma. These terms represent spectrums of the same disease.Gene Rearrangement, B-Lymphocyte, Heavy Chain: Ordered rearrangement of B-lymphocyte variable gene regions of the IMMUNOGLOBULIN HEAVY CHAINS, thereby contributing to antibody diversity. It occurs during the first stage of differentiation of the IMMATURE B-LYMPHOCYTES.Genes, Immunoglobulin Heavy Chain: Genes and gene segments encoding the IMMUNOGLOBULIN HEAVY CHAINS. Gene segments of the heavy chain genes are symbolized V (variable), D (diversity), J (joining), and C (constant).Gene Rearrangement, B-Lymphocyte: Ordered rearrangement of B-lymphocyte variable gene regions coding for the IMMUNOGLOBULIN CHAINS, thereby contributing to antibody diversity. It occurs during the differentiation of the IMMATURE B-LYMPHOCYTES.Immunoglobulin M: A class of immunoglobulin bearing mu chains (IMMUNOGLOBULIN MU-CHAINS). IgM can fix COMPLEMENT. The name comes from its high molecular weight and originally being called a macroglobulin.Immunoglobulin A: Represents 15-20% of the human serum immunoglobulins, mostly as the 4-chain polymer in humans or dimer in other mammals. Secretory IgA (IMMUNOGLOBULIN A, SECRETORY) is the main immunoglobulin in secretions.Immunoglobulin Idiotypes: Unique genetically-controlled determinants present on ANTIBODIES whose specificity is limited to a single group of proteins (e.g., another antibody molecule or an individual myeloma protein). The idiotype appears to represent the antigenicity of the antigen-binding site of the antibody and to be genetically codetermined with it. The idiotypic determinants have been precisely located to the IMMUNOGLOBULIN VARIABLE REGION of both immunoglobin polypeptide chains.Gene Rearrangement: The ordered rearrangement of gene regions by DNA recombination such as that which occurs normally during development.Cytidine Deaminase: An enzyme that catalyzes the deamination of cytidine, forming uridine. EC Determining Regions: Three regions (CDR1; CDR2 and CDR3) of amino acid sequence in the IMMUNOGLOBULIN VARIABLE REGION that are highly divergent. Together the CDRs from the light and heavy immunoglobulin chains form a surface that is complementary to the antigen. These regions are also present in other members of the immunoglobulin superfamily, for example, T-cell receptors (RECEPTORS, ANTIGEN, T-CELL).Mutation: Any detectable and heritable change in the genetic material that causes a change in the GENOTYPE and which is transmitted to daughter cells and to succeeding generations.Antibody Specificity: The property of antibodies which enables them to react with some ANTIGENIC DETERMINANTS and not with others. Specificity is dependent on chemical composition, physical forces, and molecular structure at the binding site.Antibodies, Monoclonal: Antibodies produced by a single clone of cells.Clone Cells: A group of genetically identical cells all descended from a single common ancestral cell by mitosis in eukaryotes or by binary fission in prokaryotes. Clone cells also include populations of recombinant DNA molecules all carrying the same inserted sequence. (From King & Stansfield, Dictionary of Genetics, 4th ed)Immunoglobulins, Intravenous: Immunoglobulin preparations used in intravenous infusion, containing primarily IMMUNOGLOBULIN G. They are used to treat a variety of diseases associated with decreased or abnormal immunoglobulin levels including pediatric AIDS; primary HYPERGAMMAGLOBULINEMIA; SCID; CYTOMEGALOVIRUS infections in transplant recipients, LYMPHOCYTIC LEUKEMIA, CHRONIC; Kawasaki syndrome, infection in neonates, and IDIOPATHIC THROMBOCYTOPENIC PURPURA.Polymerase Chain Reaction: In vitro method for producing large amounts of specific DNA or RNA fragments of defined length and sequence from small amounts of short oligonucleotide flanking sequences (primers). The essential steps include thermal denaturation of the double-stranded target molecules, annealing of the primers to their complementary sequences, and extension of the annealed primers by enzymatic synthesis with DNA polymerase. The reaction is efficient, specific, and extremely sensitive. Uses for the reaction include disease diagnosis, detection of difficult-to-isolate pathogens, mutation analysis, genetic testing, DNA sequencing, and analyzing evolutionary relationships.Cloning, Molecular: The insertion of recombinant DNA molecules from prokaryotic and/or eukaryotic sources into a replicating vehicle, such as a plasmid or virus vector, and the introduction of the resultant hybrid molecules into recipient cells without altering the viability of those cells.Immunoglobulin Constant Regions: The domains of the immunoglobulin molecules that are invariable in their amino acid sequence within any class or subclass of immunoglobulin. They confer biological as well as structural functions to immunoglobulins. One each on both the light chains and the heavy chains comprises the C-terminus half of the IMMUNOGLOBULIN FAB FRAGMENT and two or three of them make up the rest of the heavy chains (all of the IMMUNOGLOBULIN FC FRAGMENT)Immunoglobulin lambda-Chains: One of the types of light chain subunits of the immunoglobulins with a molecular weight of approximately 22 kDa.Myeloma Proteins: Abnormal immunoglobulins characteristic of MULTIPLE MYELOMA.Immunoglobulin Fragments: Partial immunoglobulin molecules resulting from selective cleavage by proteolytic enzymes or generated through PROTEIN ENGINEERING techniques.DNA: A deoxyribonucleotide polymer that is the primary genetic material of all cells. Eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms normally contain DNA in a double-stranded state, yet several important biological processes transiently involve single-stranded regions. DNA, which consists of a polysugar-phosphate backbone possessing projections of purines (adenine and guanine) and pyrimidines (thymine and cytosine), forms a double helix that is held together by hydrogen bonds between these purines and pyrimidines (adenine to thymine and guanine to cytosine).Mice, Inbred BALB CImmunoglobulin mu-Chains: The class of heavy chains found in IMMUNOGLOBULIN M. They have a molecular weight of approximately 72 kDa and they contain about 57 amino acid residues arranged in five domains and have more oligosaccharide branches and a higher carbohydrate content than the heavy chains of IMMUNOGLOBULIN G.Immunoglobulin E: An immunoglobulin associated with MAST CELLS. Overexpression has been associated with allergic hypersensitivity (HYPERSENSITIVITY, IMMEDIATE).Immunoglobulin Isotypes: The classes of immunoglobulins found in any species of animal. In man there are nine classes that migrate in five different groups in electrophoresis; they each consist of two light and two heavy protein chains, and each group has distinguishing structural and functional properties.Immunoglobulin A, Secretory: The principle immunoglobulin in exocrine secretions such as milk, respiratory and intestinal mucin, saliva and tears. The complete molecule (around 400 kD) is composed of two four-chain units of IMMUNOGLOBULIN A, one SECRETORY COMPONENT and one J chain (IMMUNOGLOBULIN J-CHAINS).Immunoglobulin D: An immunoglobulin which accounts for less than 1% of plasma immunoglobulin. It is found on the membrane of many circulating B LYMPHOCYTES.Immunoglobulin Allotypes: Allelic variants of the immunoglobulin light chains (IMMUNOGLOBULIN LIGHT CHAINS) or heavy chains (IMMUNOGLOBULIN HEAVY CHAINS) encoded by ALLELES of IMMUNOGLOBULIN GENES.Immunoglobulin J-Chains: A 15 kD "joining" peptide that forms one of the linkages between monomers of IMMUNOGLOBULIN A or IMMUNOGLOBULIN M in the formation of polymeric immunoglobulins. There is one J chain per one IgA dimer or one IgM pentamer. It is also involved in binding the polymeric immunoglobulins to POLYMERIC IMMUNOGLOBULIN RECEPTOR which is necessary for their transcytosis to the lumen. It is distinguished from the IMMUNOGLOBULIN JOINING REGION which is part of the IMMUNOGLOBULIN VARIABLE REGION of the immunoglobulin light and heavy chains.Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments: Univalent antigen-binding fragments composed of one entire IMMUNOGLOBULIN LIGHT CHAIN and the amino terminal end of one of the IMMUNOGLOBULIN HEAVY CHAINS from the hinge region, linked to each other by disulfide bonds. Fab contains the IMMUNOGLOBULIN VARIABLE REGIONS, which are part of the antigen-binding site, and the first IMMUNOGLOBULIN CONSTANT REGIONS. This fragment can be obtained by digestion of immunoglobulins with the proteolytic enzyme PAPAIN.Plasmacytoma: Any discrete, presumably solitary, mass of neoplastic PLASMA CELLS either in BONE MARROW or various extramedullary sites.Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments: Crystallizable fragments composed of the carboxy-terminal halves of both IMMUNOGLOBULIN HEAVY CHAINS linked to each other by disulfide bonds. Fc fragments contain the carboxy-terminal parts of the heavy chain constant regions that are responsible for the effector functions of an immunoglobulin (COMPLEMENT fixation, binding to the cell membrane via FC RECEPTORS, and placental transport). This fragment can be obtained by digestion of immunoglobulins with the proteolytic enzyme PAPAIN.Immunoglobulin gamma-Chains: Heavy chains of IMMUNOGLOBULIN G having a molecular weight of approximately 51 kDa. They contain about 450 amino acid residues arranged in four domains and an oligosaccharide component covalently bound to the Fc fragment constant region. The gamma heavy chain subclasses (for example, gamma 1, gamma 2a, and gamma 2b) of the IMMUNOGLOBULIN G isotype subclasses (IgG1, IgG2A, and IgG2B) resemble each other more closely than the heavy chains of the other IMMUNOGLOBULIN ISOTYPES.Immunoglobulin Joining Region: A segment of the immunoglobulin heavy chains, encoded by the IMMUNOGLOBULIN HEAVY CHAIN GENES in the J segment where, during the maturation of B-LYMPHOCYTES; the gene segment for the variable region upstream is joined to a constant region gene segment downstream. The exact position of joining of the two gene segments is variable and contributes to ANTIBODY DIVERSITY. It is distinguished from the IMMUNOGLOBULIN J CHAINS; a separate polypeptide that serves as a linkage piece in polymeric IGA or IGM.Immunoglobulin Class Switching: Gene rearrangement of the B-lymphocyte which results in a substitution in the type of heavy-chain constant region that is expressed. This allows the effector response to change while the antigen binding specificity (variable region) remains the same. The majority of class switching occurs by a DNA recombination event but it also can take place at the level of RNA processing.Antibody Diversity: The phenomenon of immense variability characteristic of ANTIBODIES. It enables the IMMUNE SYSTEM to react specifically against the essentially unlimited kinds of ANTIGENS it encounters. Antibody diversity is accounted for by three main theories: (1) the Germ Line Theory, which holds that each antibody-producing cell has genes coding for all possible antibody specificities, but expresses only the one stimulated by antigen; (2) the Somatic Mutation Theory, which holds that antibody-producing cells contain only a few genes, which produce antibody diversity by mutation; and (3) the Gene Rearrangement Theory, which holds that antibody diversity is generated by the rearrangement of IMMUNOGLOBULIN VARIABLE REGION gene segments during the differentiation of the ANTIBODY-PRODUCING CELLS.Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic: Antibodies which react with the individual structural determinants (idiotopes) on the variable region of other antibodies.