The Journal of biological chemistry

The major conformational IgE-binding epitopes of hevein (Hev b6.02) are identified by a novel chimera-based allergen epitope mapping strategy.

PMID 11909866


A novel approach to localize and reconstruct conformational IgE-binding epitope regions of hevein (Hev b6.02), a major natural rubber latex allergen, is described. An antimicrobial protein (AMP) from the amaranth Amaranthus caudatus was used as an immunologically non-IgE-binding adaptor molecule to which terminal or central parts of hevein were fused. Hevein and AMP share a structurally identical core region but have different N-terminal and C-terminal regions. Only 1 of 16 hevein-allergic patients showed weak IgE binding to purified native or recombinant AMP. Chimeric AMP with the hevein N terminus was recognized by IgE from 14 (88%) patients, and chimeric AMP with the hevein C terminus was recognized by IgE from 6 (38%) patients. In contrast, chimeric AMP containing the hevein core region was recognized by IgE from only two patients. When both the N-terminal and C-terminal regions of hevein were fused with the AMP core, IgE from all 16 patients bound to the chimera. This chimera was also able to significantly inhibit (>70%) IgE binding to the native hevein. On the contrary, linear synthetic peptides corresponding to hevein regions in the AMP chimeras showed no significant IgE binding capacity in either enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay or inhibition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. These results suggest that the IgE binding ability of hevein is essentially determined by its N-terminal and C-terminal regions and that major IgE-binding epitopes of hevein are conformational. The chimera-based epitope mapping strategy described here provides a valuable tool for defining structural epitopes and creating specific reagents for allergen immunotherapy.

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