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J Mol Biol. 2005 Sep 2;351(5):1101-9.

Crystal structure of the major celery allergen Api g 1: molecular analysis of cross-reactivity.

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  • 1Department of Structural Biology, Biozentrum, University of Basel, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland.


Many patients who have been sensitised to pollen, display allergic symptoms after ingestion of certain plant food such as fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts. The cause is the cross-reactivity between structurally very similar major plant allergens. In particular, allergy to celery is very frequently associated with birch and mugwort pollen sensitization, known as to the birch-mugwort-celery syndrome. The crystal structure of the major celery allergen Api g 1, a homologue of the major birch pollen allergen Bet v 1, has been determined to a resolution of 2.9 A. The structure of Api g 1 is very similar to that of Bet v 1 with major differences occurring in the segment comprised of residues 23-45, preceding the well conserved glycine-rich P-loop, as well as in loops beta3-beta4 and beta5-beta6. In particular, Api g 1 lacks E45, which has been shown to be a crucial residue for antibody recognition in the crystal complex of Bet v 1 with the Fab fragment of a murine monoclonal IgG (BV16) antibody. The absence of E45 and the structural differences in the preceding segment suggest that this region of the Api g 1 surface is probably not responsible for the observed cross-reactivity with Bet v 1. A detailed analysis of the molecular surface in combination with sequence alignment revealed three conserved surface patches which may account for cross-reactivity with Bet v 1. Several residues of Bet v 1 which have been shown by mutagenesis studies to be involved in IgE recognition belong to these conserved surface regions. The structure of Api g 1 and the related epitope analysis provides a molecular basis for a better understanding of allergen cross-reactivity and may lead to the development of hypoallergens which would allow a safer immunotherapy.

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