For a better understanding of the plasma cell and its functions, the next few slides are included to demonstrate the characteristics of the Ig molecule. The Ig molecule is diagrammatically represented in this slide. The Ig molecule consists of two paired chains: a light chain called the L chain and a heavy chain called the H chain. Within each light and heavy chain are both a constant and a variable amino acid sequence. There are two types of light chains, kappa and lambda, which differ in the amino acid composition of the constant part of the molecule. The variable portion of both heavy and light chains is responsible for antibody specificity. In MM and WM, free monoclonal L chains are often found in urine and are called Bence Jones proteins (BJP). There are five different heavy chain types, IgA, G, M, D, and E, which differ in the constant-region amino acid sequence and the carbohydrate content. Each individual plasma cell secretes only one heavy chain type associated with one light chain type.
Course Section: 10. Plasma Cell Dyscrasias
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