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HUMAN IMMUNOGLOBULIN CLASSES, SUBCLASSES, TYPES AND SUBTYPES Part-2continued from page-1
A. Immunoglobulin classes
The immunoglobulins can be divided into five different classes, based on differences in the amino acid sequences in the constant region of the heavy chains. All immunoglobulins within a given class will have very similar heavy chain constant regions. These differences can be detected by sequence studies or more commonly by serological means (i.e. by the use of antibodies directed to these differences).
Serum IgA is a monomer but IgA found in secretions is a dimer as presented in Figure 11. When IgA exits as a dimer, a J chain is associated with it.
When IgA is found in secretions is also has another protein associated with it called the secretory piece or T piece; sIgA is sometimes referred to as 11S immunoglobulin. Unlike the remainder of the IgA which is made in the plasma cell, the secretory piece is made in epithelial cells and is added to the IgA as it passes into the secretions (Figure 12). The secretory piece helps IgA to be transported across mucosa and also protects it from degradation in the secretions.
a) IgA is the 2nd most common serum Ig.
b) IgA is the major class of Ig in secretions - tears, saliva, colostrum, mucus. Since it is found in secretions secretory IgA is important in local (mucosal) immunity.
c) Normally IgA does not fix complement, unless aggregated.
d) IgA can binding to some cells - PMN's and some lymphocytes.Figure 13 IgD Structure
The structure of IgD is presented in the Figure 13. IgD exists only as a monomer.
a) IgD is found in low levels in serum; its role in serum uncertain.
b) IgD is primarily found on B cell surfaces where it functions as a receptor for antigen. IgD on the surface of B cells has extra amino acids at C-terminal end for anchoring to the membrane. It also associates with the Ig-alpha and Ig-beta chains.
c) IgD does not bind complement.
The structure of IgE is presented in Figure 14. IgE exists as a monomer and has an extra domain in the constant region.
a) IgE is the least common serum Ig since it binds very tightly to Fc receptors on basophils and mast cells even before interacting with antigen.
b) Involved in allergic reactions - As a consequence of its binding to basophils an mast cells, IgE is involved in allergic reactions. Binding of the allergen to the IgE on the cells results in the release of various pharmacological mediators that result in allergic symptoms.
c) IgE also plays a role in parasitic helminth diseases. Since serum IgE levels rise in parasitic diseases, measuring IgE levels is helpful in diagnosing parasitic infections. Eosinophils have Fc receptors for IgE and binding of eosinophils to IgE-coated helminths results in killing of the parasite.
d) IgE does not fix complement.Figure 15
Antibody ConceptsContinue to IgG subclasses
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