The antigen-induced clustering of cell surface IgE is a key activation pathway for mast cells, basophils and eosinophils, and these cells are all conspicuous players in response to parasite infections. A detailed understanding of the fine specificity of IgE antibodies is therefore essential if we are to properly understand the biology of these critical effector cells. Much of our understanding
of IgE antibodies is drawn from more general studies of humoral immunity, for it has been widely Ceritinib assumed that the IgE response develops in parallel with the IgG response. That is, it has been thought that the IgE response develops within germinal centres where, guided by antigen selection, and in the presence of T follicular helper cells, clonal proliferation and mutation lead to the emergence of high-affinity antibodies and the development of both plasma cells and memory cells. Recent work has challenged this view. It has been proposed, for example, that IgE-switched cells may be early emigrants from the germinal centre reaction . It has also been proposed that the IgE response could be driven by superantigen-like stimulation . Indirect evidence that may help us clarify these fundamental Z-VAD-FMK research buy aspects of the biology of IgE comes from studies of IgE sequences and the point mutations
that accumulate in these genes. To investigate the IgE response in circumstances other than allergic disease, we conducted the present study of individuals from a community in which parasite infections are endemic . The prevalence of allergic disease was investigated in this population in the 1980s, and it was shown to be almost entirely absent . Although epidemiological CYTH4 studies have not recently been conducted in the area, none of the subjects in this study reported any symptoms indicative of allergic disease. All the individuals, however, had very
high serum IgE concentrations. Although the specificities of the IgE antibodies remain unknown, it is reasonable to suppose that most of the IgE was generated as a consequence of parasite infection. The very high serum IgG4 concentrations seen are also typical of the response to persistent parasite infections . Patterns of gene usage have been a focus of many studies of IgE sequences. An over-representation of genes of the IGHV5 family in IgE VDJ rearrangements has been reported by some [11, 12] but not all studies of IgE sequences [13, 14], and this has been taken as evidence of superantigen-driven responses . In this study, biased usage of IGHV1-69 genes and genes of the IGHV5 family were seen in sequence sets of all isotypes and in both Australian and PNG IgG sequences. This suggests that the bias seen is likely to be a consequence of the variable efficiency of the amplification of different IGHV genes by the family-specific degenerate PCR primers used in this study. Previously reported biases could also be artefactual.