The gut mucosa is exposed to a large community of commensal bacteria that are required for the processing of nutrients and the education of the local immune system. Conversely, the gut immune system generates innate and adaptive responses that shape the composition of the local microbiota. One striking feature of intestinal adaptive immunity is its ability to generate massive amounts of noninflammatory immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibodies through multiple follicular and extrafollicular pathways that operate in the presence or absence of cognate T-B cell interactions. Here we discuss the role of intestinal IgA in host-commensal mutualism, immune protection, and tolerance and summarize recent advances on the role of innate immune cells in intestinal IgA production.
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