Titration calorimetry measurements on the binding of hen lysozyme to the specific monoclonal IgG antibodies D1.3, D11.15, D44.1, F9.13.7, F10.6.6, their papain-cleaved antigen binding fragments (Fab) and their protein-engineered fragments consisting of non-covalently linked heavy variable chain and light variable chain domains (Fv) were performed between 6-50 degrees C in 0.15 M NaCl, 0.01 M sodium phosphate pH 7.1. The binding thermodynamic free energy change (delta G degrees b), enthalpy change (delta Hb), and entropy change (delta Sb) were the same for the whole IgG and its Fv and Fab fragments. With the exception of F9.13.7 at 13 degrees C, all the binding reactions were enthalpically driven with enthalpy changes ranging from -129 +/- 7 kJ mol-1 (D1.3 at 49.8 degrees C) to -26.2 +/- 0.6 kJ mol-1 (D44.1 at 8.0 degrees C). The heat capacity changes for the binding reaction (delta Cp) ranged from -2.72 +/- 0.16 kJ mol-1 K-1 (F9.13.7) to -0.95 +/- 0.06 kJ mol-1 K-1 (F10.6.6). The apolar surface areas buried at the binding sites estimated from the heat capacity changes indicate that the binding reactions are primarily hydrophobic, contrary to the mainly observed enthalpy-driven nature of the reactions. Conformational stabilization and the presence of water at the antigen-antibody interface may account for this discrepancy.