The variable-domain-attached oligosaccharide side chains of a human IgG produced by a human–human–mouse heterohybridoma were analysed. In addition to the conserved N-glycosylation site at Asn-297, an N-glycosylation consensus sequence (Asn-Asn-Ser) is located at position 75 in the variable region of its heavy chain. The antibody was cleaved into its antigen-binding (Fab) and crystallizing fragments. The oligosaccharides of the Fab fragment were released by digestion with various endo- and exoglycosidases and analysed by anion-exchange chromatography and fluorophore-assisted carbohydrate electrophoresis. The predominant components were disialyl- bi-antennary and tetra-sialyl tetra-antennary complex carbohydrates. Of note is the presence in this human IgG of oligosaccharides containing N-glycolylneuraminic acid and N-acetylneuraminic acid in the ratio of 94:6. Furthermore, we determined N-acetylgalactosamine in the Fab fragment of this antibody, suggesting the presence of O-linked carbohydrates. A three-dimensional structure of the glycosylated variable (Fv) fragment was suggested using computer-assisted modelling. In addition, the influence of the Fv-associated oligosaccharides of the CBGA1 antibody on antigen binding was tested in several ELISA systems. Deglycosylation resulted in a decreased antigen-binding activity.

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