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J Immunol. 2012 Feb 1;188(3):1318-24. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1003945. Epub 2011 Dec 23.

Phenotypic variation in IgG receptors by nonclassical FCGR2C alleles.

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Sanquin Research and Landsteiner Laboratory, Department of Blood Cell Research, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, 1066 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The balance between activating and inhibitory signals from the different FcγRs for IgG ensures homeostasis of many inflammatory responses. FCGR2C is the product of an unequal crossover of the FCGR2A and FCGR2B genes encoding the activating FcγRIIa (CD32a) and inhibitory FcγRIIb (CD32b), respectively. A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in exon 3 of FCGR2C results in either expression of the activating FcγRIIc (CD32c) (FCGR2C-open reading frame [ORF]) or its absence because of a stop codon (FCGR2C-Stop). Two additional variations in FcγRIIb/c expression on leukocytes have now been identified. In case of "nonclassical" FCGR2C-ORF alleles, FcγRIIc expression was unexpectedly absent, because of novel splice site mutations near exon 7 leading to another stop codon. In some individuals with FCGR2C-Stop alleles FcγRIIb was detected on NK cells, which normally are devoid of this protein. Individuals with these nonclassical FCGR2C-Stop alleles carried a deletion of FCGR2C-FCGR3B that extends into the promoter region of the adjacent FCGR2B gene and probably deletes a negative regulatory element in the FCGR2B promoter in NK cells. FcγRIIb expression on NK cells effectively inhibited killing mediated by FcγRIIIa (CD16a) in Ab-dependent cytotoxicity tests. Our findings demonstrate a more extensive and previously unnoticed variation in FcγR expression with relevance to immunity and inflammation.

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