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Clinical & Experimental Allergy

Monomeric immunoglobulin E stabilizes FcεRIα from the human basophil cell line KU812 by protecting it from natural turnover


Bettina Margrethe Jensen, National University Hospital, Laboratory of Medical Allergology, Allergy Unit, FIN 7542, Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100 Copenhagen O, Denmark. E-mail:


Background The high affinity IgE receptor (FcεRI) on mast cells and basophils is up-regulated by its own ligand IgE; however, the mechanism is unknown.

Objective To study the IgE-mediated effect on FcεRI on basophils by using the human basophilic cell line KU812.

Methods Expression of cell surface FcεRI was assessed by flow cytometry. Western blot technique was used to illustrate tyrosine-phosphorylation and the Ca2+ level in KU812 was measured by fluorescence of Fura-2. Soluble specimens of the α-chain from FcεRI (FcεRIα) were obtained by lysing 107 KU812 pr. mL. FcεRIα was detected by a sandwich immunoradiometric assay employing the IgE-binding capacity of FcεRIα in conjunction with a monoclonal antibody. Polyclonal rabbit anti-FcεRIα was used for detection of FcεRIα by Western blotting.

Results We found that monomeric IgE did not induce tyrosine-phosphorylation in KU812, which was the case when stimulating with IgE cross-linked by anti-IgE binding. Further, only cross-linking of IgE, but not monomeric IgE, increased the Ca2+ level. Using the immunoradiometric assay, we found a temperature dependent reduction in the amount of FcεRIα. Samples incubated at 37 °C for 5 h displayed a 16-fold decrease in the FcεRIα level compared with samples incubated at 4 °C. In the presence of IgE the reduction at 37°C was only threefold.

Conclusion These results indicate that IgE does not induce intracellular signals in KU812, i.e., tyrosine-phosphorylation or Ca2+ release. Instead it appears that FcεRIα is an unstable protein that IgE stabilizes and thereby protects from a temperature dependent turnover.

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