There is mounting evidence that Fc epsilon RII (CD23) and its soluble fragments (IgE-binding factors [BFs] or soluble CD23) have pleiotropic activities. IgE-BFs are formed mainly by the proteolytic cleavage of surface Fc epsilon RII; they are first released as 37- and 33-kD unstable molecules that are subsequently transformed into 25-kD IgE-BFs. In this study, purified and radioiodinated 37-kD IgE-BFs as well as 45-kD Fc epsilon RII were used as substrates to identify the proteases leading to the formation of 25-kD IgE-BFs. These substrates generate 25-kD IgE-BFs when incubated with several Fc epsilon RII-bearing cells, including CHO1-7 cells (transfected with Fc epsilon RII cDNA); by contrast Fc epsilon RII- cells, including CHO control cells, have no effect. Highly purified unlabeled native 37-kD and recombinant 29-kD IgE-BFs also cleave labeled 45-kD Fc epsilon RII into 25-kD IgE-BFs. The proteolytic activity of these purified IgE-BFs is specifically removed by immunoprecipitation with an antibody against IgE-BFs. These data strongly suggest that Fc epsilon RII and some of its soluble fragments play an active role in the proteolytic mechanism generating IgE-BFs. They are supported by the observation that IgE-BFs released by CHO1-7 cells are cleaved exactly at the same sites as B cell-derived IgE-BFs. Taken collectively, the results are compatible with an autoproteolytic process.

This content is only available as a PDF.