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Nature. 1999 Nov 25;402(6760 Suppl):B24-30.

Signalling through the high-affinity IgE receptor Fc epsilonRI.

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Department of Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


The Fc epsilonRI complex forms a high-affinity cell-surface receptor for the Fc region of antigen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) molecules. Fc epsilonRI is multimeric and is a member of a family of related antigen/Fc receptors which have conserved structural features and similar roles in initiating intracellular signalling cascades. In humans, Fc epsilonRI controls the activation of mast cells and basophils, and participates in IgE-mediated antigen presentation. Multivalent antigens bind and crosslink IgE molecules held at the cell surface by Fc epsilonRI. Receptor aggregation induces multiple signalling pathways that control diverse effector responses. These include the secretion of allergic mediators and induction of cytokine gene transcription, resulting in secretion of molecules such as interleukin-4, interleukin-6, tumour-necrosis factor-alpha and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor. Fc epsilonRI is therefore central to the induction and maintenance of an allergic response and may confer physiological protection in parasitic infections.

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