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J Immunol. 2006 Aug 1;177(3):1561-6.

Differential polarization of immune responses by plant 2S seed albumins, Ber e 1, and SFA8.

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Division of Immunology, Infection, and Inflammation, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.


The plant 2S seed albumins Ber e 1 and SFA8, although structurally very similar, vary with respect to their allergenic properties. Whereas the former represents a major allergen, the latter appears to promote only weak allergenic responses. The aim of this investigation was to determine whether the allergenic properties of Ber e 1 and SFA8 reflected differential polarization of dendritic cell (DC) and Th cell responses. We thus investigated the effect of recombinant forms of both allergens on DC and Th cell responses as indicated by cell surface phenotype and cytokine production. Exposure of murine DCs to SFA8, but not Ber e 1, resulted in production of the cytokines IL-12 p40 and TNF-alpha by a mechanism independent of recognition by TLRs. Furthermore, depending on the mouse strain used, increased expression of MHC class II and costimulatory molecules such as CD40, CD80, and CD86 was associated with exposure to SFA8, but not Ber e 1. In coculture experiments using the DO11.10 transgenic T cell that recognizes OVA peptide, DCs exposed to both allergens induced T cells to produce IFN-gamma, but only Ber e 1 could induce significant production of IL-4 and IL-5. Likewise, analysis of transcription factors shows increased T-bet with respect to both allergens, but also GATA-3 with respect to Ber e 1. Overall, our data are consistent with the idea that the ability of Ber e 1, but not SFA8, to act as a potent allergen may reflect differences in their ability to induce IL-12 production.

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