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Chem Immunol Allergy. 2007;93:58-76.

Protein Fv: an endogenous immunoglobulin superantigen and superallergen.

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Department of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, Center for Basic and Clinical Immunology Research, University of Naples Federico II, School of Medicine, Naples, Italy.


Protein Fv was isolated and purified by Jean Pierre Bouvet and collaborators in 1990 from stool extracts of patients affected by viral hepatitis B or C. This protein was also identified and purified in biological samples in experimental viral hepatitis. Under normal conditions, protein Fv is synthesized in low concentrations by the human liver, and is increased in biological fluids of patients with viral hepatitis. This protein binds with high affinity to the variable domain of the heavy chains of all human immunoglobulins. Thus, it is an endogenous immunoglobulin superantigen because it binds to human immunoglobulin of the VH3 family. This protein also acts as a superallergen because it activates human basophils and mast cells through the high-affinity interaction with IgE VH3+. The mechanism of activation of immune cells by protein Fv represents a new pathogenetic cascade consisting of viral infection, endogenous immunoglobulin superantigen/superallergen production and tissue injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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