Germline and productive Cε gene expression during in vivo IgE responses

G. Thyphronitis, I. M. Katona, W. C. Gause, F. D. Finkelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


In vitro studies have established that Ig isotype switching typically involves deletion of C(H) genes that are located between VDJ and the C(H) gene that will be expressed, and is preceded by transcription of a germline (g) form of that C(H) gene. Increases in gε transcript levels are induced by the cytokine IL-4, and always precede switching to IgE. To evaluate whether a similar relationship occurs in vivo, we examined IL-4 mRNA, gε RNA, productive (p)ε mRNA, and serum IgE levels in two in vivo systems: one in which the injection of anti-IgD antibody induces mIgD+ B cells to switch to the expression of IgE and to secrete this isotype, and a second in which the injection of anti-IgE antibody stimulates IgE secretion by B cells that had been induced to express membrane IgE by earlier treatment with anti-IgD antibody. Increases in IL-4 transcript levels in anti-IgD-injected mice were followed within 24 h by increases in gε RNA, and, one to two days later, by increased pε mRNA and serum IgE levels. IL-4 antagonists blocked the gε and pε RNA and serum IgE responses in these mice, whereas the injection of otherwise untreated mice with IL-4 stimulated, within 24 h, a large increase in gε RNA levels, followed 1-2 days later by a small increase in pε mRNA. Injection of anti-IgD-primed mice with anti-IgE antibody also stimulated increases in IL-4, gε, and pε RNA levels; however, the increases in IL-4 and gε RNA were considerably smaller, and the increases in pε mRNA and serum IgE considerably larger, than those observed in anti-IgD antibody- injected mice. IL-4 antagonists blocked the anti-IgE antibody-induced gε RNA response, but not the pε mRNA or serum IgE responses. Thus, IL-4 is required for the induction of gε RNA in at least two in vivo systems, increased gε RNA levels precede increases in pε RNA levels in vivo as in vitro, and neither IL-4 nor gε RNA is required to induce B cells that have already switched to IgE expression to differentiate into IgE-secreting cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4128-4136
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'Germline and productive Cε gene expression during in vivo IgE responses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this