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Mol Immunol. 2006 Feb;43(6):509-18. Epub 2005 Jun 21.

Structural basis for epitope sharing between group 1 allergens of cedar pollen.

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Department of Pediatrics, Child Health Research Center, University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Blvd., Galveston, TX 77555-0366, USA.


The group 1 allergens are a major cause of cedar pollen hypersensitivity in several geographic areas. Allergens from several taxa have been shown to cross-react. The goal of these studies was to compare the structural features of the shared and unique epitopes of the group 1 allergen from mountain cedar (Jun a 1) and Japanese cedar (Cry j 1). An array of overlapping peptides from the sequence of Jun a 1 and a panel of monoclonal anti-Cry j 1 antibodies were used to identify the IgE epitopes recognized by cedar-sensitive patients from Texas and Japan. IgE from Japanese patients reacted with peptides representing one of the two linear epitopes within the highly conserved beta-helical core structure and both epitopes within less ordered loops and turns near the N- and C-termini of Jun a 1. A three-dimensional (3D) model of the Cry j 1, based on the crystal structure of Jun a 1, indicated a similar surface exposure for the four described epitopes of Jun a 1 and the homologous regions of Cry j 1. The monoclonal antibodies identified another shared epitope, which is most likely conformational and a unique Cry j 1 epitope that may be the previously recognized glycopeptide IgE epitope. Defining the structural basis for shared and unique epitopes will help to identify critical features of IgE epitopes that can be used to develop mimotopes or identify allergen homologues for vaccine development.

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