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Book chapter - Peer-reviewed, 2017

The Appearance and Diversification of Receptors for IgM During Vertebrate Evolution

Akula, Srinivas; Hellman, Lars


Three different receptors that interact with the constant domains of IgM have been identified: the polymeric immunoglobulin (Ig) receptor (PIGR), the dual receptor for IgA/IgM (Fc alpha mu R) and the IgM receptor (Fc mu R). All of them are related in structure and located in the same chromosomal region in mammals. The functions of the PIGRs are to transport IgM and IgA into the intestinal lumen and to saliva and tears, whereas the Fc alpha mu Rs enhance uptake of immune complexes and antibody coated bacteria and viruses by B220+ B cells and phagocytes, as well as dampening the Ig response to thymus-independent antigens. The Fc mu Rs have broad-spectrum effects on B-cell development including effects on IgM homeostasis, B-cell survival, humoral immune responses and also in autoantibody formation. The PIGR is the first of these receptors to appear during vertebrate evolution and is found in bony fish and all tetrapods but not in cartilaginous fish. The Fc mu R is present in all extant mammalian lineages and also in the Chinese and American alligators, suggesting its appearance with early reptiles. Currently the Fc alpha mu R has only been found in mammals and is most likely the evolutionary youngest of the three receptors. In bony fish, the PIGR has either 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 extracellular Ig-like domains, whereas in amphibians, reptiles and birds it has 4 domains, and 5 in all mammals. The increase in domain number from 4 to 5 in mammals has been proposed to enhance the interaction with IgA. Both the Fc alpha mu Rs and the Fc mu Rs contain only one Ig domain; the domain that confers Ig binding. In both of these receptors this domain shows the highest degree of sequence similarity to domain 1 of the PIGR. All Ig domains of these three receptors are V type domains, indicating they all have the same origin although they have diversified extensively in function during vertebrate evolution by changing expression patterns and cytoplasmic signaling motifs.

Published in

Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology
2017, volume: 408, pages: 1-23
Book title: IgM and Its Receptors and Binding Proteins
ISBN: 978-3-319-64524-7, eISBN: 978-3-319-64526-1
Publisher: Springer

Authors' information

Uppsala University
Hellman, Lars
Uppsala University

UKÄ Subject classification

Cell Biology

Publication Identifiers


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