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Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2012;159(3):235-42. doi: 10.1159/000337461. Epub 2012 Jun 20.

Cof a 1: identification, expression and immunoreactivity of the first coffee allergen.

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1
Biocenter Klein Flottbek and Botanical Garden, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Over the past years, dust of green coffee beans has become known to be a relevant cause for occupational type I allergies. Up to now, allergy diagnostics is based on native green coffee bean extract which exhibits insufficient specificity due to interfering substances as well as batch-to-batch variations. No coffee allergen has been described on the molecular level so far. The aim of this study was to identify the first allergen of green coffee.

METHODS:

The allergenicity of native green coffee bean extracts was analyzed by means of ImmunoCAP in sera of 17 symptomatic coffee workers. A Coffea arabica pJuFo cDNA phage display library was constructed and screened for IgE binding to coffee proteins with 2 sera from allergic coffee workers. By sequence analysis, a new coffee allergen (Cof a 1) was identified, expressed in Escherichia coli, and evaluated by Western blots. The frequency of sensitization was investigated by ELISA screening.

RESULTS:

The Cof a 1 cDNA encoded a 32-kDa C. arabica class III chitinase. Serum IgE antibodies to the recombinant allergen were found in 3 out of 17 symptomatic coffee workers (18%), whereas only 2 of them reacted to the commercial allergy test.

CONCLUSIONS:

A class III chitinase of C. arabica was identified to be the first known coffee allergen Cof a 1. It may have a relevant potential for the specific diagnosis of coffee sensitization.

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PMID:
22722540
DOI:
10.1159/000337461
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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