Immunochemical and sequence analyses of kappa light chain REE (Bence Jones protein REE and the light chain isolated from IgG kappa myeloma protein REE) revealed antigenic and structural features not previously described for human kappa-chains. Although closely related to proteins of the V kappa III subgroup, light chain REE is readily distinguished from light chains classified serologically as members of the kappa IIIa or kappa IIIb sub-subgroups. Light chains REE (Bence Jones protein REE and light chain REE) are identical in sequence and differ from kappa III proteins by at least 10 uncommon amino acid substitutions in the first three framework regions. Further, kappa-chain REE is unique by virtue of a four-residue deletion in the third complementarity-determining region. The deletion encompasses the three carboxyl-terminal residues in the V kappa-encoded segment and the first residue at the site of V-J recombination. Urine specimens from patient REE also contained a light chain fragment that lacked the first (amino-terminal) 85 residues of the native light chain but otherwise was identical in sequence to the light chain REE. The extensive amino acid differences and unique length of the V kappa segment in light chain REE indicate that this kappa-chain is the product of an unusual V kappa III gene or, alternatively, represents a rarely expressed and novel human V kappa gene.

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