IgE antibodies are essential mediators of allergic reactions. Small amounts of allergen-specific IgE can cause life-threatening anaphylaxis, but anaphylaxis can be prevented by non-specific or low affinity IgE. Understanding the mechanisms that control the production of high affinity and low affinity IgE is thus of outmost importance for the development targeted therapies. Previous work from our laboratory demonstrated that IgE cells do not follow the classical differentiation pathway that has been well described for IgG cells. IgE germinal center cells are transient and apoptotic, and fail to generate long lived plasma cells and functional IgE memory cells. Nevertheless, high affinity IgE can be generated by the sequential switching of IgG1 cells to IgE. The mechanisms that maintain the memory of IgE responses are poorly understood. Long-term antibody responses, typically those involving IgG antibodies, are maintained by memory B cells that are reactivated upon re-exposure to antigen, and by long lived plasma cells. It is clear that the mechanisms of memory of IgE responses must be unique and different from IgG memory. In this application, we will address the long-lasting question of the cellular origin of high and low affinity IgE in memory responses. Ultimately we want to understand what it takes to make pathogenic IgE, and define steps in the process that could be amenable to therapeutic intervention.

Public Health Relevance

IgE antibodies are the main molecules that cause allergic reactions, which range from mild to lethal, e.g., anaphylaxis caused by food allergies is responsible for many deaths worldwide. When IgE antibodies have high affinity for the allergen, only minute amounts of the allergen can trigger anaphylaxis in an allergic person: however, when IgE antibodies are of low affinity, there is little risk. We seek to study the mechanisms that lead to the production of high and low affinity IgE antibodies, and the to the persistence of such response (called memory) ? we have evidences that the pathways involved are different in high versus low affinity IgE, and the outcomes are clearly different for the patient.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Dong, Gang
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Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York
United States
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He, Jin-Shu; Subramaniam, Sharrada; Narang, Vipin et al. (2017) IgG1 memory B cells keep the memory of IgE responses. Nat Commun 8:641