Fc epsilon RI is a tetrameric receptor, composed of a ligand recognition subunit, alpha, a beta chain, and dimeric gamma chains. Previous studies have indicated that the dimeric gamma chain is associated with Fc gamma RIIIA (CD16) on natural killer cells and macrophages as well as the clonotypic T cell receptor. Here we show that in mast cells, in addition to the dimeric gamma chains, the beta subunit is associated not only with Fc epsilon RI, but also with Fc gamma RIIIA. Functional reconstitution studies with a mastocytoma cell line indicate that Fc gamma RIIIA composed of alpha, beta, and gamma subunits has the capacity for signal transduction. These studies suggest that through the association of alternative ligand recognition subunits (alpha epsilon, alpha gamma), a common signal transduction complex (beta gamma 2) mediates similar biochemical and effector functions in response to immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgE.

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