The variable region sequences of light and heavy chains of three hybridoma antibodies to alpha (1----6) dextran, two from BALB/c and one from C57BL/6 mice, were determined by cloning and sequencing their cDNA. The three kappa-light chains are identical in nucleotide and amino acid sequences, except for the use of different J by BALB/c and C57BL/6; all three had the germ-line sequence of antibodies to 2-phenyloxazolone (20). Nevertheless, 2-phenyloxazolone BSA did not cross-react in gel with antidextrans, nor did dextran react with anti-2-phenyloxazolone ascitic fluids. The heavy chains differed, the BALB/c hybridomas having only three amino acid differences in CDR2 and two in CDR3; the C57BL/6 hybridoma differed throughout the variable region. All three VH are members of the J558 family. The three identical V kappa sequences suggest a significant role in dextran binding, with the differences in CDR of VH and the various J mini-genes of VL and VH being responsible for only fine differences in specificity. Alternatively, the role of V kappa might be minor, with most of the complementarity ascribable to VH. Additional sequences are needed to evaluate whether these data are typical of the repertoire of anti-alpha (1----6) dextran-combining sites.

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