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J Immunol. 2006 Apr 15;176(8):4852-60.

Nuclear magnetic resonance structure-based epitope mapping and modulation of dust mite group 13 allergen as a hypoallergen.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117543.


IgE-mediated allergic response involves cross-linking of IgE bound on mast cells by specific surface epitopes of allergens. Structural studies on IgE epitopes of allergens are essential in understanding the characteristics of an allergen and for development of specific allergen immunotherapy. We have determined the structure of a group 13 dust mite allergen from Dermatophagoides farinae, Der f 13, using nuclear magnetic resonance. Sequence comparison of Der f 13 with homologous human fatty acid-binding proteins revealed unique surface charged residues on Der f 13 that may be involved in IgE binding and allergenicity. Site-directed mutagenesis and IgE binding assays have confirmed four surface charged residues on opposite sides of the protein that are involved in IgE binding. A triple mutant of Der f 13 (E41A_K63A_K91A) has been generated and found to have significantly reduced IgE binding and histamine release in skin prick tests on patients allergenic to group 13 dust mite allergens. The triple mutant is also able to induce PBMC proliferation in allergic patients with indices similar to those of wild-type Der f 13 and shift the secretion of cytokines from a Th2 to a Th1 pattern. Mouse IgG serum raised using the triple mutant is capable to block the binding of IgE from allergic patients to wild-type Der f 13, indicating potential for the triple mutant as a hypoallergen for specific immunotherapy. Findings in this study imply the importance of surface charged residues on IgE binding and allergenicity of an allergen, as was also demonstrated in other major allergens studied.

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