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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2004 Oct;114(4):928-33.

Hymenoptera venom protease allergens.

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  • 1Department of Biology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA.



Recent studies have shown the presence of additional allergenic proteins in honeybee and paper wasp venoms. Both venoms contain serine protease enzymes.


We isolated and obtained complete sequences of honeybee and Mediterranean paper wasp venom proteases, both of which have significant IgE binding activity. The structures are compared with bumblebee venom protease.


Venom proteases were chromatographically isolated from venoms and partial amino acid sequences determined. RT-PCR and rapid amplification of cDNA ends methods were used to clone cDNA, and complete sequences were determined for honeybee and a paper wasp venom protease.


The venom proteases are all serine proteases of the trypsin type. The honeybee protease contains a complement, embryonic sea urchin protein, bone morphogenetic protein interaction domain as well as a linker and propeptide sequence, and a unique methionine residue near the active site. It has IgE binding activity. The paper wasp protease is a single trypsin domain and is an important allergen. The framework residues are poorly conserved among honeybee, bumblebee, and paper wasp enzymes.


The 3 venom serine proteases have significant IgE binding activities. The structures are poorly conserved even among the Apidae , suggesting little cross-reactivity among the protein portions. The paper wasp venom proteases are important allergens.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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