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EMBO J. 1989 Jul;8(7):1935-8.

The gene coding for the major birch pollen allergen Betv1, is highly homologous to a pea disease resistance response gene.

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  • 1Institute of General and Experimental Pathology, Vienna, Austria.


Pollen of the white birch (Betula verrucosa) is one of the main causes of Type I allergic reactions (allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, allergic bronchial asthma) in Middle and Northern Europe, North America and the USSR. Type I allergies are a major threat to public health in these countries, since 10-15% of the population suffer from these diseases. BetvI, an allergenic protein with an Mr of 17 kd is a constituent of the pollen of white birch and is responsible for IgE binding in more than 95% of birch pollen allergic patients. Here, we report the complete nucleotide sequence and deduced amino acid sequence of a cDNA clone coding for the major pollen allergen (BetvI) of white birch. It is similar to the N-terminal peptide sequences of the allergens of hazel, alder and hornbeam (close relatives) but it has no significant sequence homology to any other known allergens. However, it shows 55% sequence identity with a pea disease resistance response gene, indicating that BetvI may be involved in pathogen resistance of pollen.

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