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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1997 Mar;99(3):374-84.

Immunologic characterization of monoclonal antibodies that modulate human IgE binding to the major birch pollen allergen Bet v 1.

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Schering-Plough, Laboratory for Immunological Research, Dardilly, France.



Bet v 1 and homologous proteins represent major allergens for almost 95% of patients allergic to tree pollen and approximately 70% of those allergic to fruits and vegetables. As yet, no continuous (sequential) IgE epitopes have been determined for Bet v 1, and evidence has accumulated that Bet v 1 IgE epitopes belong to the conformational (discontinuous) type.


A panel of 85 mouse monoclonal anti-Bet v 1 antibodies was raised as a tool with which to study the interaction of human IgE antibodies with Bet v 1.


The epitopes of selected monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) were characterized by mapping with synthetic overlapping peptides and by cross-competition experiments. Cross-reactivity of Bet v 1-specific mAbs with tree and plant food allergens was investigated by Western blotting. The influence of Bet v 1-specific mAbs on the IgE-Bet v 1 interaction was studied by competition assays with immobilized purified recombinant Bet v 1 and by basophil histamine release experiments.


Antibodies that increased the IgE binding to Bet v 1 up to fivefold could be defined, whereas others inhibited IgE binding to Bet v 1 up to 99% and competed with the Bet v 1-induced histamine release from patients' basophils.


The activity of the enhancing antibodies is interpreted as a stabilization of Bet v 1 states/IgE epitopes, which are either more accessible for certain IgE antibodies or are recognized with higher affinity. Those mAbs that competed with the Bet v 1-IgE interaction, if humanized or produced as recombinant antibody fragments, might be considered as potential tools for local allergy therapy.

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