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ACS Chem Biol. 2012 Nov 16;7(11):1796-801. doi: 10.1021/cb300193f. Epub 2012 Aug 21.

Synthetic allergen design reveals the significance of moderate affinity epitopes in mast cell degranulation.

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  • 1Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana 46556, United States.


This study describes the design of a well-defined homotetravalent synthetic allergen (HTA) system to investigate the effect of hapten-IgE interactions on mast cell degranulation. A library of DNP variants with varying affinities for IgE(DNP) was generated (K(d) from 8.1 nM to 9.2 μM), and 8 HTAs spanning this range were synthesized via conjugation of each DNP variant to the tetravalent scaffold. HTAs with hapten K(d) < 235 nM stimulated degranulation following a bell-shaped dose response curve with maximum response occurring near the hapten K(d). HTAs with hapten K(d) ≥ 235 nM failed to stimulate degranulation. To mimic physiological conditions, the percent of allergen specific IgE on cell surface was varied, and maximum degranulation occurred at 25% IgE(DNP). These results demonstrated that moderate hapten-IgE affinities are sufficient to trigger mast cell degranulation. Moreover, this study established the HTA design as a well-defined, controllable, and physiologically relevant experimental system to elucidate the mast cell degranulation mechanism.

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