Molecular Mechanisms of IgE Class Switch Recombination

  • Pei Tong
  • Duane R. WesemannEmail author
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 388)


Immunoglobulin (Ig) E is the most tightly regulated of all Ig heavy chain (IgH) isotypes and plays a key role in atopic disease. The gene encoding for IgH in mature B cells consists of a variable region exon—assembled from component gene segments via V(D)J recombination during early B cell development—upstream of a set of IgH constant region CH exons. Upon activation by antigen in peripheral lymphoid organs, B cells can undergo IgH class switch recombination (CSR), a process in which the initially expressed IgH μ constant region exons (Cμ) are deleted and replaced by one of several sets of downstream CH exons (e.g., Cγ, Cε, and Cα). Activation of the IL-4 receptor on B cells, together with other signals, can lead to the replacement of Cμ with Cε resulting in CSR to IgE through a series of molecular events involving irreversible remodeling of the IgH locus. Here, we discuss the molecular mechanisms of CSR and the unique features surrounding the generation of IgE-producing B cells.


Region Exon Class Switch Recombination Active Histone Modification Vertebrate Telomere Sequence Constant Region Exon 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



D.R.W. is supported by NIH grants AI089972 and AI113217, by the Mucosal Immunology Studies Team, and holds a Career Award for Medical Scientists from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and AllergyBrigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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