FcRn overexpression in mice results in potent humoral response against weakly immunogenic antigen

MAbs. Mar-Apr 2011;3(2):173-80. doi: 10.4161/mabs.3.2.14462. Epub 2011 Mar 1.


The neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) regulates IgG and albumin homeostasis, mediates maternal IgG transport, is active in phagocytosis and delivers antigen for presentation. We have previously shown that transgenic (tg) mice that have been created to overexpress bovine FcRn (bFcRn) demonstrate increased half-life of mouse IgG, significantly increased antigen-specific IgG in serum and augmented expansion of antigen-specific B cells and plasma cells after immunization. One of the interesting questions surrounding this enhanced immune response is whether these tg mice could effectively induce immune response to weakly immunogenic antigens. To address this question, we immunized these bFcRn tg mice with a conserved hemagglutinin subunit 2 (HA2)-based synthetic peptide that was recently found to be effectively targeted by neutralizing antibodies. Using an ELISA system, we found that, whereas wild-type mice showed a weak immune response and developed only a de minimis amount of antibody against the epitope, FcRn over-expressing animals mounted a robust reaction expressed in specific antibody titers on day 28 that continued to rise through day 50. Consistent with our previous data, the enhanced immune response resulting from the FcRn overexpression was also associated with a substantial increase in the number of spleen derived B cells, dendritic cells, granulocytes and plasma cells. Based on this evidence, we propose that tg mice that overexpress bFcRn offer major advantages in monoclonal antibody production because the tg mice would allow the generation of antibodies (hybridomas) to weakly immunogenic antigens that otherwise would be difficult or even impossible to make.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology
  • Antibody Formation
  • Antigens / administration & dosage
  • Antigens / immunology*
  • Cattle
  • Female
  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus / administration & dosage
  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus / chemistry
  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus / immunology*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / chemistry
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / genetics
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / metabolism*
  • Immunization
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype / chemistry
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Models, Molecular
  • Peptides / administration & dosage
  • Peptides / chemical synthesis
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Peptides / immunology*
  • Receptors, Fc / chemistry
  • Receptors, Fc / genetics
  • Receptors, Fc / metabolism*
  • Up-Regulation*


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antigens
  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Peptides
  • Receptors, Fc
  • hemagglutinin, human influenza A virus
  • Fc receptor, neonatal