While it is accepted that protein flexibility plays a role in protein folding, catalysis, and molecular recognition, few techniques are capable of the rigorous measurement of protein motions required to quantify flexibility. Three-pulse photon echo shift spectroscopy can be used to measure the time scale of protein motions, and we have used this technique, along with steady-state spectroscopy and binding and structural data, to examine the immunological evolution of protein flexibility in an anti-fluorescein antibody. Two light chain somatic mutations increase affinity for fluorescein by 12-fold but also significantly affect flexibility. Specifically, a rigidification of the protein is seen in each of three observable motions; two slower motions undergo decreased amplitudes of displacement, by 3- and 20-fold, respectively, in response to an applied force, and the distribution associated with the amplitude of a faster motion is narrowed upon somatic mutation. The somatic mutations appear to rigidify the antibody-fluorescein complex by more strongly anchoring fluorescein to the protein and by more tightly packing the complex. The data demonstrate that in addition to affinity, antibody dynamics are systematically manipulated during affinity maturation, and they imply that the evolution of protein flexibility may be a central component of the immune response. The results also reflect the type of protein rigidification that may be important for other biological interactions, such as protein-protein, protein-ligand or protein-drug, and enzyme-substrate recognition.