The proteins programmed in the wheat-germ cell-free system by the mRNA coding for the MOPC-63 mouse myeloma L (light) chain were labelled with six radioactive amino acids: [35S]methionine, [4,5-3H]leucine, [3,4-3H]proline, [3-3H]serine, [4,5-3H]isoleucine or [2,3-3H]alanine. Amino acid-sequence analyses showed that over 90% of the total cell-free product was one homogeneous protein, which corresponds to the MOPC-63 L-chain precursor. In this precursor an extra piece, 20 amino acid residues in length, precedes the N-terminus of the mature L chain. The extra piece contains one methionine residue at the N-terminus, six leucine residues, which are clustered in two triplets at positions 6, 7, 8 and 11, 12, 13, one proline residue at position 16, and one serine residue at position 18. The closely gathered leucine residues, as well as their abundance (30%), suggest that the extra-piece moiety is hydrophobic. In the precursors, the extra piece is coupled to the variable region of the L chain. Partial sequences of precursors of L chains of the same and different subgroups that were labelled with the above six radioactive amino acids indicate that the extra piece is part of the variable region. Thus the precursors of MOPC-63 and MOPC-321 L chains, which are of the same subgroup, have extra pieces of identical size (20 residues), and so far their partial sequences are also identical (see above). On the other hand, in the precursor of MOPC-41 L chain, which is of a different subgroup, the extra piece is 22 residues in length. Further, the sequence of the MOPC-41 extra piece differs in at least ten positions from sequences of the extra pieces of the precursors of MOPC-63 and MOPC-321 L chains.

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