The neonatal Fc receptor for IgG (FcRn) has been well characterized in the transfer of passive humoral immunity from a mother to her fetus. In addition, throughout life, FcRn protects IgG from degradation, thereby explaining the long half-life of this class of antibody in the serum. In recent years, it has become clear that FcRn is expressed in various sites in adults, where its potential function is now beginning to emerge. In addition, recent studies have examined the interaction between FcRn and the Fc portion of IgG with the aim of either improving the serum half-life of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies or reducing the half-life of pathogenic antibodies. This Review summarizes these two areas of FcRn biology.