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Nat Rev Immunol. 2008 Jun;8(6):421-34. doi: 10.1038/nri2322.

The regulation of IgA class switching.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University, 1300 York Avenue, New York, New York 10021, USA.


IgA class switching is the process whereby B cells acquire the expression of IgA, the most abundant antibody isotype in mucosal secretions. IgA class switching occurs via both T-cell-dependent and T-cell-independent pathways, and the antibody targets both pathogenic and commensal microorganisms. This Review describes recent advances indicating that innate immune recognition of microbial signatures at the epithelial-cell barrier is central to the selective induction of mucosal IgA class switching. In addition, the mechanisms of IgA class switching at follicular and extrafollicular sites within the mucosal environment are summarized. A better understanding of these mechanisms may help in the development of more effective mucosal vaccines.

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