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J Biol Chem. 1999 Mar 12;274(11):7216-25.

Alternative endocytic pathway for immunoglobulin A Fc receptors (CD89) depends on the lack of FcRgamma association and protects against degradation of bound ligand.

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  • 1INSERM, Unité 25, Hôpital Necker, 75743 Paris, France.


IgA is the most abundant immunoglobulin in mucosal areas but is only the second most common antibody isotype in serum because it is catabolized faster than IgG. IgA exists in monomeric and polymeric forms that function through receptors expressed on effector cells. Here, we show that IgA Fc receptor(s) (FcalphaR) are expressed with or without the gamma chain on monocytes and neutrophils. gamma-less FcalphaR represent a significant fraction of surface FcalphaR molecules even on cells overexpressing the gamma chain. The FcalphaR-gamma2 association is up-regulated by phorbol esters and interferon-gamma. To characterize gamma-less FcalphaR functionally, we generated mast cell transfectants expressing wild-type human FcalphaR or a receptor with a point mutation (Arg --> Leu at position 209) which was unable to associate with the gamma chain. Mutant gamma-less FcalphaR bound monomeric and polymeric human IgA1 or IgA2 but failed to induce exocytosis after receptor clustering. The two types of transfectant showed similar kinetics of FcalphaR-mediated endocytosis; however, the endocytosis pathways of the two types of receptor differed. Whereas mutant FcalphaR were localized mainly in early endosomes, those containing FcalphaR-gamma2 were found in endo-lysosomal compartments. Mutant gamma-less FcalphaR recycled the internalized IgA toward the cell surface and protected against IgA degradation. Cells expressing the two forms of FcalphaR, associated or unassociated with gamma chains, may thus have differential functions either by degrading IgA antibody complexes or by recycling serum IgA.

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