Production of monoclonal antibodies to β₂microglobulin
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The major histocompatibility gene complex (MHC) produces a group of 45,000 dalton glycoproteins, the class I antigens, which are involved in the regulation of the immune response and in the rejection of foreign tissue and tumor grafts. Class I antigens are expressed on the membranes of most nucleated cells. β₂microglobulin, a 12,000 dalton polypeptide, is noncovalently bound to the class I antigens and is also found in unassociated form as a trace protein in the body fluids. To measure and compare the rates of production, distribution and catabolism of β₂microglobulin in normal and transformed cell lines it is necessary to distinguish between secreted free β₂microglobulin and histocompatibility antigen bound β₂microglobulin. To accomplish this, six monoclonal antibodies were produced: four which bind to antigenic determinants exposed in both bound and free β₂microglobulin for measurement of total β₂microglobulin production, and two which bind to a conformational antigenic determinant formed by association with the MHC complex for measurement of MHC bound β₂microglobulin only.