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J Proteome Res. 2013 Feb 1;12(2):647-56. doi: 10.1021/pr300755p. Epub 2013 Jan 17.

Comprehensive proteomics approach in characterizing and quantifying allergenic proteins from northern shrimp: toward better occupational asthma prevention.

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Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Occupational asthma is a major chronic health dilemma among workers involved in the seafood industry. Several proteins notoriously known to cause asthma have been reported in different seafood. This work involves the application of an allergenomics strategy to study the most potent allergens of northern shrimp. The proteins were extracted from shrimp tissue and profiled by gel electrophoresis. Allergenic proteins were identified based on their reactivity to patient sera and were structurally identified using tandem mass spectrometry. Northern shrimp tropomyosin, arginine kinase, and sarcoplasmic calcium-binding protein were found to be the most significant allergens. Multiple proteolytic enzymes enabled 100% coverage of the sequence of shrimp tropomyosin by tandem mass specrometry. Only partial sequence coverage was obtained, however, for the shrimp allergen arginine kinase. Signature peptides, for both tropomyosin and arginine kinase, were assigned and synthesized for use in developing the multiple reaction monitoring tandem mass spectrometric method. Subsequently, air samples were collected from a shrimp processing plant and two aerosolized proteins quantified using tandem mass specrometry. Allergens were detected in all areas of the plant, reaching levels as high as 375 and 480 ng/m(3) for tropomyosine and arginine kinase, respectively. Tropomyosine is much more abundant than arginine kinase in shrimp tissues, so the high levels of arginine kinase suggest it is more easily aerosolized. The present study shows that mass spectrometric analysis is a sensitive and accurate tool in identifying and quantifying aerosolized allergens.

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