Structure and function of human IgA Fc receptors (Fc alpha R)

Crit Rev Immunol. 1996;16(4):423-40.


Receptors for the Fc region of IgA are expressed by many human cell types, especially phagocytes located in mucosal areas, where IgA is the prevalent antibody isotype. Binding of IgA-opsonized particles (e.g., bacteria, viruses) to Fc alpha R may trigger a plethora of cell-mediated immune effector functions designed to rid the body of the foreign invader. The IgA receptor present on myeloid cells such as neutrophils, eosinophils, and monocytes (Fc alpha RI or CD89) is a transmembrane glycoprotein that binds both IgA isotypes with similar affinity. Genetic characterization showed Fc alpha RI to be a more distantly related member of the Ig receptor gene family. Recently, Fc alpha RI was found to associate with the FcR gamma-chain signaling molecule through a unique charge-based mechanism. Fc alpha RI is, thus, connected to the intracellular machinery via the ITAM signaling motifs located within the cytoplasmic tail of FcR gamma-chain. Evidence exists in support of receptors for IgA (distinct from Fc alpha RI) on human T and B cells. IgA Fc receptors may, therefore, play a role in both the induction and control of an efficient (mucosal) immune response.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Fc / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Fc / physiology*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • IgA receptor
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Receptors, Fc