Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Roberta Attanasio - Chair

Second Advisor

Barbara Baumstark

Third Advisor

Phang C. Tai

Fourth Advisor

Franco Scinicariello


Antibodies neutralize and eliminate pathogens, malignancies, and toxins by acting either alone or in association with Fc receptors which, once engaged, activate the elimination mechanisms of phagocytic cells. Based on structural differences, antibodies are divided into functionally distinct classes (IgM, IgD, IgG, IgE and IgA). Structure-function relationships within these classes are not well characterized. In addition, animal models for the assessment of potential therapeutic strategies for the modulation of the interaction between antibodies and Fc receptors are not established. Nonhuman primates are widely used to model human diseases and, represent excellent in vivo systems for this assessment. Therefore, we have studied nonhuman primate IgD as well as IgG and IgA specific Fc receptors in rhesus macaques, cynomolgus macaques, baboons and sooty mangabeys. IgD genes had not been identified in nonhuman primates nor the IgD receptors characterized in any species. We characterized IgD genes of the four monkey species, as well as chimpanzees and dogs. In contrast to other antibody classes, the IgD hinge regions are highly conserved between human and nonhuman primates, thus indicating a role in Fc receptor binding. In humans, Fc receptors CD16a (natural killer cells) and CD16b (neutrophils) bind IgG1 and IgG3, and CD89 (myeloid cells) binds IgA. To assess ligand binding and glycosylation properties of nonhuman primate CD16a, CD16b, and CD89, we sequenced, cloned, and generated recombinant molecules in a mammalian expression system. Our results verify the presence of CD16a, but not CD16b in nonhuman primates. CD16a is expressed on monocytes and a subpopulation of lymphocytes. In sooty mangabeys, CD16 is also expressed on neutrophils. Recombinant sooty mangabey/baboon CD16a binds to human IgG1 and IgG2, but not IgG3 and IgG4. Monkey CD89 has the same peripheral blood leukocyte expression profiles as humans, and binds human and recombinant macaque IgA. Blocking of N-glycans inhibited expression of CD89, but only marginally CD16a expression. Although extensive similarities of antibody/Fc receptor interactions exist between human and nonhuman primates, several differences must be considered when evaluating therapeutic strategies. However, these differences can be exploited to further characterize the structure-function relationships existing within antibody molecules and respective receptors.

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Biology Commons