The structural features of mAb directed against the opiate morphine were analyzed by using competitive ligand analog-binding studies, examination of the V region amino acid sequence, and computer-aided molecular modeling of the fragment V region. The antibody response in BALB/c mice to morphine is relatively restricted, in that all of the mAb examined in this study contained the same lambda L chain and very similar H chain V regions. A three-dimensional model of the antimorphine-binding site was constructed by using computational and graphic display techniques. Each of the six complementary-determining regions was constructed by using fragment replacement methods employing canonical loop conformations of known "parent" structures. Experimental competitive ligand-binding data and theoretical modeling suggest that a charged glutamate residue at position H:50 and aromatic side chains of residues H:33W, H:47W, H:58F, H:95W, H:101iY, and L:91W are key features in ionic and hydrophobic interactions with the ligand. This study represents the first use of theoretical and experimental modeling techniques to describe the Ag-binding site of a mouse fragment V region containing a lambda L chain.

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