The solution structure of the human IgG2 subclass is distinct from those for human IgG1 and IgG4 providing an explanation for their discrete functions

J Biol Chem. 2019 Jul 12;294(28):10789-10806. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA118.007134. Epub 2019 May 14.


Human IgG2 antibody displays distinct therapeutically-useful properties compared with the IgG1, IgG3, and IgG4 antibody subclasses. IgG2 is the second most abundant IgG subclass, being able to bind human FcγRII/FcγRIII but not to FcγRI or complement C1q. Structural information on IgG2 is limited by the absence of a full-length crystal structure for this. To this end, we determined the solution structure of human myeloma IgG2 by atomistic X-ray and neutron-scattering modeling. Analytical ultracentrifugation disclosed that IgG2 is monomeric with a sedimentation coefficient (s20, w0) of 7.2 S. IgG2 dimer formation was ≤5% and independent of the buffer conditions. Small-angle X-ray scattering in a range of NaCl concentrations and in light and heavy water revealed that the X-ray radius of gyration (Rg ) is 5.2-5.4 nm, after allowing for radiation damage at higher concentrations, and that the neutron Rg value of 5.0 nm remained unchanged in all conditions. The X-ray and neutron distance distribution curves (P(r)) revealed two peaks, M1 and M2, that were unchanged in different buffers. The creation of >123,000 physically-realistic atomistic models by Monte Carlo simulations for joint X-ray and neutron-scattering curve fits, constrained by the requirement of correct disulfide bridges in the hinge, resulted in the determination of symmetric Y-shaped IgG2 structures. These molecular structures were distinct from those for asymmetric IgG1 and asymmetric and symmetric IgG4 and were attributable to the four hinge disulfides. Our IgG2 structures rationalize the existence of the human IgG1, IgG2, and IgG4 subclasses and explain the receptor-binding functions of IgG2.

Keywords: analytical ultracentrifugation; antibody; immunoglobulin G (IgG); molecular modeling; neutron-scattering; small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Carrier Proteins / chemistry
  • Carrier Proteins / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments / chemistry
  • Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments / chemistry
  • Immunoglobulin G / chemistry*
  • Immunoglobulin G / metabolism
  • Immunoglobulin G / ultrastructure*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Structure
  • Neutron Diffraction / methods
  • Neutrons
  • Protein Binding / physiology
  • Protein Conformation
  • Scattering, Small Angle
  • Ultracentrifugation / methods
  • X-Ray Diffraction / methods
  • X-Rays


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments
  • Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • prolactin-binding protein

Associated data

  • PDB/1HZH
  • PDB/5DK3
  • PDB/1IGT
  • PDB/6FCZ
  • PDB/4X4M
  • PDB/3SGJ
  • PDB/5VU0
  • PDB/5YC5
  • PDB/3KYM
  • PDB/4HAF