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Immunity. 2013 Nov 14;39(5):976-85. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2013.10.006. Epub 2013 Oct 24.

Bee venom phospholipase A2 induces a primary type 2 response that is dependent on the receptor ST2 and confers protective immunity.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Immunobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Venoms consist of toxic components that are delivered to their victims via bites or stings. Venoms also represent a major class of allergens in humans. Phospholipase A2 (PLA2) is a conserved component of venoms from multiple species and is the major allergen in bee venom. Here we examined how bee venom PLA2 is sensed by the innate immune system and induces a type 2 immune response in mice. We found that bee venom PLA2 induced a T helper type 2 (Th2) cell-type response and group 2 innate lymphoid cell activation via the enzymatic cleavage of membrane phospholipids and release of interleukin-33. Furthermore, we showed that the IgE response to PLA2 could protect mice from future challenge with a near-lethal dose of PLA2. These data suggest that the innate immune system can detect the activity of a conserved component of venoms and induce a protective immune response against a venom toxin.

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