Definition of heavy chain in US English:

heavy chain


  • The protein subunit that, as one of a pair, makes up the major part of an immunoglobulin molecule.

    • ‘Each antibody molecule is composed of four subunits - two identical heavy chains and two identical light chains.’
    • ‘All immunoglobulin molecules contain a light chain and a heavy chain.’
    • ‘The light chain is cleaved from the heavy chain during or after secretion into the circulation.’
    • ‘One of the tests for antibodies in the dromedary blood seemed to show an error: in addition to normal four-chain antibodies, it indicated the presence of simpler antibodies composed solely of a pair of heavy chains.’
    • ‘Therefore, some of the material near the light-chain band was derived from the irradiated heavy chains.’