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The detection of dimers of dimers in MHC class II crystals has excited speculation about their possible functions in T cell Ag recognition. Biochemical evidence for the existence of DR superdimers falls short of proof and is controversial. To monitor B lymphoma cells for high m.w. complexes of HLA-DR molecules, membrane preparations and cell lysates were screened by one- and two-dimensional Western blotting. Under these conditions, in which DRαβ heterodimers were readily detected, no DR complexes with an (αβ)2- chain composition could be identified. Two mAbs (L243 and D1-12) immunoprecipitated high m.w. DR complexes suspected to be superdimers. However, biochemical analysis revealed that, rather than superdimers, these were SDS-stable complexes of DR in combination with the Abs. Thus, previous observations of HLA-DR superdimer bands may also reflect complexes of DR molecules with bound Ab.


Journal article


Journal of Immunology

Publication Date





4671 - 4676