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T Cell Dependent IgA Class Switching

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Immunoglobulin A (IgA) is a class of antibodies that play a major role in the immune function of mucous membranes. This class of antibodies is primarily produced in the gut, the largest immune organ in the body. The process of production, known as IgA class switching, is crucial for a fine-tuned immune response to different types of pathogens. This article focuses on the mechanism of T-cell-dependent IgA class switching and its importance in immune response to pathogens at mucosal surfaces.

Introduction of T Cell-Dependent IgA Class Switching

T cell-dependent typically occurs in organized lymphoid tissues like Peyer's patches, mesenteric lymph nodes, and isolated lymphoid follicles in the gut. Dendritic cells capture antigens and present them to T cells. Activated T cells, especially T helper cells, provide cytokines like TGF-beta, IL-4, IL-6, and IL-10 that induce IgA class switching. TGF-beta signaling activates transcription factors like SMADs and RUNX3 that bind to the IgA switch region and induce germline Cα gene transcription. CD40 ligand on T cells engaging CD40 on B cells provides important co-stimulation, activating NF-kB which induces AID expression. Cognate T-B interactions and germinal center reactions allow for somatic hypermutation and affinity maturation of IgA antibodies. High affinity IgA+ B cells leave lymphoid tissues and migrate to the lamina propria, differentiating into IgA-secreting plasma cells.

Signalling events leading to T‑cell-dependent IgA class switching.Fig.1 Signalling events leading to T cell-dependent IgA class switching.1

T Cell-dependent and T Cell-independent Pathways

T cell-dependent IgA pathway, the dominant one for most protein antigens, generally produces high affinity, somatically mutated antibodies against specific pathogens. It is slower to develop but provides robust serological memory. Defects in proteins involved in T-cell help like CD40L, CD40, and TGF-beta receptor can impair IgA class switching and lead to immunodeficiency. T-cell independent IgA class switching can compensate partially when T-cell help is lacking. In summary, T cell-dependent IgA class switching in organized lymphoid tissues induces high-affinity IgA through interactions between T cells, DCs, and B cells, providing durable protection against pathogens while maintaining commensal homeostasis.

Overall, the cooperation between T cells and B cells, driven by specific regulatory factors and cytokines, is indispensable for IgA class switching. This process is pivotal for adaptive immune responses to intestinal pathogens. The understanding of T-cell-dependent IgA class switching can provide insights into mucosal immunity and may offer new strategies for improving immunization efficacy and treating diseases at mucosal surfaces. Factors regulating this process can serve as potential targets for therapeutic interventions. Thus, further studies on T-cell-dependent IgA class switching are instrumental in making advancements in medical science. Creative Biolabs has an experienced team of professionals who provide a wide range of non-IgG antibody development services to clients worldwide. In addition, we can provide a full range of IgA antibodies from different species, such as rat, human, and bovine for different applications. If you have any related needs, please feel free to contact us for more information and a detailed quotation.


  1. Cerutti, Andrea. "The regulation of IgA class switching." Nature reviews immunology 8.6 (2008): 421-434.

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For Research Use Only. Our products and services are NOT intended for diagnostic or therapeutic applications.






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