FcRn overexpression in transgenic mice results in augmented APC activity and robust immune response with increased diversity of induced antibodies

PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e36286. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036286. Epub 2012 Apr 30.


Our previous studies have shown that overexpression of bovine FcRn (bFcRn) in transgenic (Tg) mice leads to an increase in the humoral immune response, characterized by larger numbers of Ag-specific B cells and other immune cells in secondary lymphoid organs and higher levels of circulating Ag-specific antibodies (Abs). To gain additional insights into the mechanisms underlying this increase in humoral immune response, we further characterized the bFcRn Tg mice. Our Western blot analysis showed strong expression of the bFcRn transgene in peritoneal macrophages and bone marrow derived dendritic cells; and a quantitative PCR analysis demonstrated that the expression ratios of the bFcRn to mFcRn were 2.6- and 10-fold in these cells, respectively. We also found that overexpression of bFcRn enhances the phagocytosis of Ag-IgG immune complexes (ICs) by both macrophages and dendritic cells and significantly improves Ag presentation by dendritic cells. Finally, we determined that immunized bFcRn mice produce a much greater diversity of Ag-specific IgM, whereas only the levels, but not the diversity, of IgG is increased by overexpression of bFcRn. We suggest that the increase in diversity of IgG in Tg mice is prevented by a selective bias towards immunodominant epitopes of ovalbumin, which was used in this study as a model antigen. These results are also in line with our previous reports describing a substantial increase in the levels of Ag-specific IgG in FcRn Tg mice immunized with Ags that are weakly immunogenic and, therefore, not affected by immunodominance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology*
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Antigen Presentation / genetics
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology*
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Cattle
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / genetics*
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin M / immunology
  • Macrophages, Peritoneal / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Ovalbumin / chemistry
  • Ovalbumin / genetics
  • Phagocytosis / immunology
  • Receptors, Fc / genetics*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Epitopes
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Receptors, Fc
  • Ovalbumin
  • Fc receptor, neonatal