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IgE Trimers Drive SPE-7 Cytokinergic Activity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Article number8164
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date15 Aug 2017
Accepted/In press5 Jul 2017
E-pub ahead of print15 Aug 2017
Published1 Dec 2017


King's Authors


Degranulation of mast cells and basophils, with release of agents of the allergic response, ensues when multivalent antigens bind to and cross-link the cells' receptor-bound IgE antibodies. A widely used commercial monoclonal IgE antibody, SPE-7 IgE from Sigma, was found to possess the radically anomalous property, termed "cytokinergic", of inducing basophil degranulation without the intervention of an antigen. We show here that the IgE monomer, freed of protein contaminants, is devoid of this activity, and that the source of the anomaly is a trace impurity, identified as a dissociation-resistant IgE trimer. Possible models for the formation of IgE trimers and the manner in which they cross-link cell surface receptors are suggested herein.

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