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J Immunol. 2008 Oct 1;181(7):4864-73.

Disruption of allergenic activity of the major grass pollen allergen Phl p 2 by reassembly as a mosaic protein.

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  • 1Division of Immunopathology, Department of Pathophysiology, Center of Physiology, Pathophysiology and Immunology, Vienna General Hospital, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


The recognition of conformational epitopes on respiratory allergens by IgE Abs is a key event in allergic inflammation. We report a molecular strategy for the conversion of allergens into vaccines with reduced allergenic activity, which is based on the reassembly of non-IgE-reactive fragments in the form of mosaic proteins. This evolution process is exemplified for timothy grass pollen-derived Phl p 2, a major allergen for more than 200 million allergic patients. In a first step, the allergen was disrupted into peptide fragments lacking IgE reactivity. cDNAs coding for these peptides were reassembled in altered order and expressed as a recombinant mosaic molecule. The mosaic molecule had lost the three-dimensional structure, the IgE reactivity, and allergenic activity of the wild-type allergen, but it induced high levels of allergen-specific IgG Abs upon immunization. These IgG Abs crossreacted with group 2 allergens from other grass species and inhibited allergic patients' IgE binding to the wild-type allergen. The mosaic strategy is a general strategy for the reduction of allergenic activity of protein allergens and can be used to convert harmful allergens into safe vaccines.

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