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Clin Exp Allergy. 2015 Oct;45(10):1601-12. doi: 10.1111/cea.12507.

Definition of a pool of epitopes that recapitulates the T cell reactivity against major house dust mite allergens.

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Division of Vaccine Discovery, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, La Jolla, CA, USA.



Allergens from house dust mites (HDM) are a common cause of asthma. Der p and Der f from Dermatophagoides sp. are strong immunogens in humans. Allergen extracts are used to study T helper (Th2) cell responses to HDM, which are implicated in the development and regulation of allergic disease.


To define an epitope mixture that recapitulates, and might substitute for, HDM extract in terms of detecting and characterizing Th2 cell responses.


Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from 52 HDM allergic and 10 non-allergic individuals were stimulated with HDM extracts and assayed with a set of 178 peptides spanning mite allergens group Der p 1, 2, 23 and Der f group 1 and 2 allergens. A pool of the most dominant T cell epitopes identified in the present study and from published literature was assembled and tested for ex vivo T cell responses. Correlation with HDM-specific IgE titres was examined.


Patterns of T cell reactivity to Der p and Der f - derived peptides revealed a large number of epitopes. Clear patterns of immunodominance were apparent, with HDM allergen group 1 and 2 dominant over group 23. Furthermore, within a given antigen, 6-11 epitopes accounted for the vast majority of responses. Based on these results and published data, a comprehensive dust mite pool (DMP) of epitopes was designed and found to allow detection of ex vivo T cell responses. DMP ex vivo reactivity correlated with HDM-specific IgE titres and was similar to that detected with commonly used HDM extracts. Ex vivo DMP stimulation was associated with a predominant Th2 response in allergic donors, and minor reactivity of T cells producing IFNγ, IL17 and IL10.


A detailed map of Der p and Der f antigens defined a pool of epitopes that can be used to detect ex vivo HDM responses.


T cell reactivity; dust mite allergy; epitope identification

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