New concepts in the generation and functions of IgA

Nat Rev Immunol. 2012 Dec;12(12):821-32. doi: 10.1038/nri3322. Epub 2012 Oct 29.


The intestinal mucosa contains the largest population of antibody-secreting plasma cells in the body, and in humans several grams of secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA) are released into the intestine each day. In the gut lumen, SIgA serves as a first-line barrier that protects the epithelium from pathogens and toxins. Recently, next-generation sequencing has revolutionized our understanding of the nature of the intestinal microbiota and has also shed new light on the important roles of SIgA in the regulation of host-commensal homeostasis. Here, I discuss pathways of IgA induction in the context of SIgA specificity and function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / immunology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory / immunology*
  • Lymphoid Tissue / immunology
  • Metagenome
  • Mice
  • Models, Immunological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasma Cells / immunology*


  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory