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PLoS One. 2013 Oct 17;8(10):e76066. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0076066. eCollection 2013.

Analysis of the effects of polymorphism on pollen profilin structural functionality and the generation of conformational, T- and B-cell epitopes.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology of plants, Estación Experimental del Zaidín (EEZ), High Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), Granada, Spain.

Erratum in

  • PLoS One. 2014;9(1). doi:10.1371/annotation/3008c3af-753f-4085-b85e-5ae0c34a7889.


An extensive polymorphism analysis of pollen profilin, a fundamental regulator of the actin cytoskeleton dynamics, has been performed with a major focus in 3D-folding maintenance, changes in the 2-D structural elements, surface residues involved in ligands-profilin interactions and functionality, and the generation of conformational and lineal B- and T-cell epitopes variability. Our results revealed that while the general fold is conserved among profilins, substantial structural differences were found, particularly affecting the special distribution and length of different 2-D structural elements (i.e. cysteine residues), characteristic loops and coils, and numerous micro-heterogeneities present in fundamental residues directly involved in the interacting motifs, and to some extension these residues nearby to the ligand-interacting areas. Differential changes as result of polymorphism might contribute to generate functional variability among the plethora of profilin isoforms present in the olive pollen from different genetic background (olive cultivars), and between plant species, since biochemical interacting properties and binding affinities to natural ligands may be affected, particularly the interactions with different actin isoforms and phosphoinositides lipids species. Furthermore, conspicuous variability in lineal and conformational epitopes was found between profilins belonging to the same olive cultivar, and among different cultivars as direct implication of sequences polymorphism. The variability of the residues taking part of IgE-binding epitopes might be the final responsible of the differences in cross-reactivity among olive pollen cultivars, among pollen and plant-derived food allergens, as well as between distantly related pollen species, leading to a variable range of allergy reactions among atopic patients. Identification and analysis of commonly shared and specific epitopes in profilin isoforms is essential to gain knowledge about the interacting surface of these epitopes, and for a better understanding of immune responses, helping design and development of rational and effective immunotherapy strategies for the treatment of allergy diseases.

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