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J Immunol. 2000 Feb 15;164(4):2188-92.

Variable expression of pathogenesis-related protein allergen in mountain cedar (Juniperus ashei) pollen.

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Department of Pediatrics, Child Health Research Center, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555, USA.


Allergic diseases have been increasing in industrialized countries. The environment is thought to have both direct and indirect modulatory effects on disease pathogenesis, including alterating on the allergenicity of pollens. Certain plant proteins known as pathogenesis-related proteins appear to be up-regulated by certain environmental conditions, including pollutants, and some have emerged as important allergens. Thus, the prospect of environmentally regulated expression of plant-derived allergens becomes yet another potential environmental influence on allergic disease. We have identified a novel pathogenesis-related protein allergen, Jun a 3, from mountain cedar (Juniperus ashei) pollen. The serum IgE from patients with hypersensitivity to either mountain cedar or Japanese cedar were shown to bind to native and recombinant Jun a 3 in Western blot analysis and ELISA. Jun a 3 is homologous to members of the thaumatin-like pathogenesis-related (PR-5) plant protein family. The amounts of Jun a 3 extracted from mountain cedar pollen varied up to 5-fold in lots of pollen collected from the same region in different years and between different regions during the same year. Thus, Jun a 3 may contribute not only to the overall allergenicity of mountain cedar pollen, but variable levels of Jun a 3 may alter the allergenic potency of pollens produced under different environmental conditions.

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