Epithelial cells of human fetal intestines and of a colonic carcinoma cell line (HT-29) exhibited intracellular and surface binding of polymeric immunoglobulins of IgA and IgM classes; monomeric IgA and IgG did not bind to these cells. Secretory component was identified as the receptor involved in the immunoglobulin binding. This conclusion was confirmed by the following experiments: trypsin abrogated the surface binding of polymeric immunoglobulin, reappearance of surface secretory component (SC) restored immunoglobulin binding; the appearance of SC in developing fetal tissues coincided with their potential to bind polymeric immunoglobulin; anti-SC reagents inhibited the binding of immunoglobulins to epithelial cells; and SC-containing secretory IgA did not bind to the surface of HT-29 cells.

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