Molecular immunology

The different effector function capabilities of the seven equine IgG subclasses have implications for vaccine strategies.

PMID 17669496


Recombinant versions of the seven equine IgG subclasses were expressed in CHO cells. All assembled into intact immunoglobulins stabilised by disulphide bridges, although, reminiscent of human IgG4, a small proportion of equine IgG4 and IgG7 were held together by non-covalent bonds alone. All seven IgGs were N-glycosylated. In addition IgG3 appeared to be O-glycosylated and could bind the lectin jacalin. Staphylococcal protein A displayed weak binding for the equine IgGs in the order: IgG1>IgG3>IgG4>IgG7>IgG2=IgG5>IgG6. Streptococcal protein G bound strongly to IgG1, IgG4 and IgG7, moderately to IgG3, weakly to IgG2 and IgG6, and not at all to IgG5. Analysis of antibody effector functions revealed that IgG1, IgG3, IgG4, IgG5 and IgG7, but not IgG2 and IgG6, were able to elicit a strong respiratory burst from equine peripheral blood leukocytes, predicting that the former five IgG subclasses are able to interact with Fc receptors on effector cells. IgG1, IgG3, IgG4 and IgG7, but not IgG2, IgG5 and IgG6, were able to bind complement C1q and activate complement via the classical pathway. The differential effector function capabilities of the subclasses suggest that, for maximum efficacy, equine vaccine strategies should seek to elicit antibody responses of the IgG1, IgG3, IgG4, and IgG7 subclasses.