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Mol Immunol. 1998 Jun;35(8):459-67.

Analysis of the three-dimensional antigenic structure of giant ragweed allergen, Amb t 5.

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Division of Clinical Immunology, Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.


The ragweed allergens Amb t 5 and Amb a 5 are among the smallest inhaled protein allergens known, containing a single, immunodominant T-cell epitope. In this study we analyzed the B-cell epitope structure of Amb t 5. The three-dimensional structures of Amb t 5 and Amb a 5 have been determined by NMR spectroscopy, providing a rare opportunity to analyze three-dimensional antigenic sites. Amb t 5 residues likely to be important for antigenicity were identified by examining the surface area of Amb t 5 accessible to a probe of the size of an antibody molecule. After changing these residues to the corresponding Amb a 5 residues, recombinant proteins were purified and tested for loss of antigenic activity. Inhibition radio-immunoassays, using sera from 8 individuals who had received immunotherapy with giant ragweed extract, allowed the mutations to be divided into three groups: (1) mutations that had little or no effect on antibody binding, (2) mutations that caused a loss of antigenic activity to a different degree in different sera and (3) mutations that drastically reduced antigenic activity in all sera tested. This last set of mutations clustered in the third loop of Amb t 5, suggesting that antibody recognition of Amb t 5, like T-cell recognition, is primarily directed towards a single, immunodominant site.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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