Activation of the humoral immune system is initiated when antibodies recognize an antigen and trigger effector functions through the interaction with Fc engaging molecules. The most abundant immunoglobulin isotype in serum is Immunoglobulin G (IgG), which is involved in many humoral immune responses, strongly interacting with effector molecules. The IgG subclass, allotype, and glycosylation pattern, among other factors, determine the interaction strength of the IgG-Fc domain with these Fc engaging molecules, and thereby the potential strength of their effector potential. The molecules responsible for the effector phase include the classical IgG-Fc receptors (FcγR), the neonatal Fc-receptor (FcRn), the Tripartite motif-containing protein 21 (TRIM21), the first component of the classical complement cascade (C1), and possibly, the Fc-receptor-like receptors (FcRL4/5). Here we provide an overview of the interactions of IgG with effector molecules and discuss how natural variation on the antibody and effector molecule side shapes the biological activities of antibodies. The increasing knowledge on the Fc-mediated effector functions of antibodies drives the development of better therapeutic antibodies for cancer immunotherapy or treatment of autoimmune diseases.
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