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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2006 Sep;97(3):336-42.

Identification of italian cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) pollen allergen Cup s 3 using homology and cross-reactivity.

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



The prevalence of seasonal allergic diseases of the upper airways is increasing in industrialized countries. The Cupressaceae are important causes of pollinosis, particularly in Europe.


To determine whether the pollen from Cupressus sempervirens (Italian cypress) contains a pathogenesis-related group 5 (PR-5) protein, similar to that found in other allergenic Cupressaceae pollens.


Messenger RNA was purified from Italian cypress pollen, and complementary DNA (cDNA) was synthesized. cDNAs for PR-5 proteins were amplified by polymerase chain reaction and extended by rapid amplification of cDNA ends methods. Recombinant Cup s 3 was expressed in Escherichia coli as a fusion protein. Inhibition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were used to test the allergenicity of Cup s 3.


Three cDNAs were cloned. These clones had approximately 95% identity to Jun a 3 and Cup a 3. Recombinant Cup s 3.0102 maltose-binding protein inhibited the IgE from most patients from binding to an extract of Italian cypress. The extent of inhibition suggested that antibodies to Cup s 3 were a prominent component of the IgE response to Italian cypress pollen.


Cup s 3, an allergen of Italian cypress pollen, was identified based on cross-reactivity and homology with other pollen PR-5 proteins, despite an apparently low level of protein expression. Variations in the content of Cup s 3 in the pollen from different regions or trees should be considered in the choice of extracts for diagnosis and specific immunotherapy for Italian cypress pollen hypersensitivity.

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