An isotype refers to any related proteins from a particular gene family. In immunology, the "immunoglobulin isotype" refers to the phenotypic variations in the constant regions of antibody heavy and light chains. In humans, there are five heavy chain isotypes and two light chain isotypes:
Immunoglobulin class switching can be used to change the class of the heavy chain, but not of the light chain.
Isotypes are distinct forms of light or heavy chains which are present in all members of a species, encoded at distinct genetic loci. All isotypes can be readily found in normal sera. However, the particular isotype changes the function of the antibody.
- Janeway, CA; Travers, P; Walport, M; et al. (2001). "Immunobiology: The Immune System in Health and Disease. 5th edition.". NCBI. NCBI. Retrieved 2016-01-19.
- Immunoglobulin Isotypes at the US National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
- Overview at University of South Carolina School of Medicine
- Overview at Southern Illinois University Carbondale
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