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Science 328 (5986): 1646-1647

Copyright © 2010 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science


IgA Changes the Rules of Memory

Andrea Cerutti1,2

The human intestinal mucosa is exposed to a complex ecosystem of harmless bacteria (commensals) that are excluded from the sterile environment of the body by an antibody isotype called immunoglobulin A (IgA) (1). Characterizing the dynamics of this immune response has been problematic because of constant immune stimulation by such bacteria. On page 1705 of this issue, Hapfelmeier et al. (2) use a reversible system of gut bacterial colonization in mice to show that responses to commensals lack cardinal features of systemic (extramucosal) IgG responses to pathogenic bacteria.

1 Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies, IMIM–Hospital del Mar, Barcelona Biomedical Research Park, 08003 Barcelona, Spain.
2 The Immunology Institute, Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.

E-mail acerutti{at}; andrea.cerutti{at}

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