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Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 1999 Dec;120(4):287-94.

Immunogold electron microscopic localization of the cross-reactive two-EF-hand calcium-binding birch pollen allergen Bet v 4 in dry and rehydrated birch pollen.

Author information

  • 1Institute of Medical Physics and Biophysis, University of Münster, Münster, Germany. mgrote@uni-muenster.de

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Recently, a novel family of low-molecular-weight (8-9 kD), two-EF-hand calcium-binding proteins has been described as allergens in plant pollens. Approximately 10% of pollen-allergic patients have IgE antibodies which cross-react with the two-EF-hand allergens in tree, grass and weed pollens. The aim of the present study was to localize Bet v 4, the two-EF-hand allergen from birch, in mature, dry pollen and to study the release of this allergen after hydration of the pollen by immunogold electron microscopy.

METHODS:

Using completely anhydrous fixation techniques in combination with immunogold electron microscopy, we localized Bet v 4 and, for control purposes, the major birch pollen allergen Bet v 1, in dry birch pollen as well as in pollen grains after different periods of hydration. Parallel with these morphological studies, we monitored the release of Bet v 4 and Bet v 1 into aqueous supernatants of hydrated birch pollen grains by immunoblotting.

RESULTS:

Bet v 4 was found in the electron-dense cytosol, in particular between the vesicles and cisternae of the endoplasmic reticulum, inside mitochondria and in the vegetative as well as in the generative nucleus. Bet v 1 was localized in similar cellular compartments except for the mitochondria. After 30 s to 1 min of hydration, Bet v 4 migrated into the pollen exine and into the aqueous supernatants. Bet v 1 also moved out of the pollen grain, though not as quickly as Bet v 4.

CONCLUSION:

Bet v 4 represents an intracellular pollen protein which, following hydration of pollen grains, rapidly migrates to the pollen surface (exine) and is washed out. This behavior explains how Bet v 4, being primarily an intracellular pollen protein, becomes available to sensitize patients.

PMID:
10640912
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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