Antibody Isotype Switching in Vertebrates.
Pathogen-Host Interactions: Antigenic Variation v. Somatic Adaptations
Results and problems in cell differentiation, January 2015
Senger, Kate, Hackney, Jason, Payandeh, Jian, Zarrin, Ali A, Kate Senger, Jason Hackney, Jian Payandeh, Ali A. Zarrin
The humoral or antibody-mediated immune response in vertebrates has evolved to respond to diverse antigenic challenges in various anatomical locations. Diversification of the immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) constant region via isotype switching allows for remarkable plasticity in the immune response, including versatile tissue distribution, Fc receptor binding, and complement fixation. This enables antibody molecules to exert various biological functions while maintaining antigen-binding specificity. Different immunoglobulin (Ig) classes include IgM, IgD, IgG, IgE, and IgA, which exist as surface-bound and secreted forms. High-affinity autoantibodies are associated with various autoimmune diseases such as lupus and arthritis, while defects in components of isotype switching are associated with infections. A major route of infection used by a large number of pathogens is invasion of mucosal surfaces within the respiratory, digestive, or urinary tract. Most infections of this nature are initially limited by effector mechanisms such as secretory IgA antibodies. Mucosal surfaces have been proposed as a major site for the genesis of adaptive immune responses, not just in fighting infections but also in tolerating commensals and constant dietary antigens. We will discuss the evolution of isotype switching in various species and provide an overview of the function of various isotypes with a focus on IgA, which is universally important in gut homeostasis as well as pathogen clearance. Finally, we will discuss the utility of antibodies as therapeutic modalities.
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