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A mass spectrometry-based modelling workflow for accurate prediction of IgG antibody conformations in the gas phase

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17194-17199
Issue number52
Early online date8 Nov 2018
Accepted/In press6 Nov 2018
E-pub ahead of print8 Nov 2018
Published21 Dec 2018


King's Authors


Immunoglobulins are biomolecules involved in defence against foreign substances. Flexibility is key to their functional properties in relation to antigen binding and receptor interactions. Here we develop an integrative strategy combining ion mobility mass spectrometry (IM-MS) with molecular modelling to study the conformational dynamics of human IgG antibodies. Predictive models of all four human IgG subclasses were assembled and their dynamics sampled in the transition from extended to collapsed state during IM-MS. Our data imply that this collapse of IgG antibodies is related to their intrinsic structural features, including Fab arm flexibility, collapse towards the Fc region, and the length of their hinge regions. The workflow presented here, provides for the first time an accurate structural representation in good agreement with the observed collision cross section for these flexible IgG molecules. These results have implications for studying other non-globular flexible proteins.

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