Natural polyreactive IgA antibodies coat the intestinal microbiota

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Abstract

Large quantities of immunoglobulin A (IgA) are constitutively secreted by intestinal plasma cells to coat and contain the commensal microbiota, yet the specificity of these antibodies remains elusive. Here we profiled the reactivities of single murine IgA plasma cells by cloning and characterizing large numbers of monoclonal antibodies. IgAs were not specific to individual bacterial taxa but rather polyreactive, with broad reactivity to a diverse, but defined, subset of microbiota. These antibodies arose at low frequencies among naïve B cells and were selected into the IgA repertoire upon recirculation in Peyer’s patches. This selection process occurred independent of microbiota or dietary antigens. Furthermore, although some IgAs acquired somatic mutations, these did not substantially influence their reactivity. These findings reveal an endogenous mechanism driving homeostatic production of polyreactive IgAs with innate specificity to microbiota.

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