Bet v 1142-156 is the dominant T-cell epitope of the major birch pollen allergen and important for cross-reactivity with Bet v 1-related food allergens

Beatrice Jahn-Schmid, Astrid Radakovics, Dirk Lüttkopf, Stephan Scheurer, Stefan Vieths, Christof Ebner, Barbara Bohle
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2005, 116 (1): 213-9

BACKGROUND: Individuals with birch pollen allergy frequently experience hypersensitivity reactions to certain foods, primarily because of IgE antibodies specific for the major birch pollen allergen Bet v 1 that cross-react with homologous food allergens.

OBJECTIVE: We sought to characterize the major T-cell epitopes of Bet v 1 and to investigate their involvement in the cellular cross-reactivity with homologous food allergens.

METHODS: T-cell epitope mapping of Bet v 1 was performed by testing Bet v 1-specific T-cell lines derived from 57 individuals with birch pollen allergy, with overlapping peptides representing the entire allergen. T-cell lines and T-cell clones were stimulated with Bet v 1-related major allergens from apple (Mal d 1), cherry (Pru av 1), hazelnut (Cor a 1), celery (Api g 1), carrot (Dau c 1), and soybean (Gly m 4) and with peptides deduced from the C-terminal amino acid sequences of these molecules. Results Bet v 1 142-156 , positioned in the highly conserved C-terminal region of Bet v 1, was identified as the major T-cell epitope recognized by 61% of individuals. Most T lymphocytes specific for Bet v 1 142-156 were activated by one or more homologous food proteins or the respective peptides, as indicated by proliferation and cytokine production.

CONCLUSION: The major T-cell epitope of Bet v 1, Bet v 1 142-156 , plays an important role in the cellular cross-reactivity between this respiratory allergen and related food allergens. Thus T lymphocytes specific for Bet v 1 142-156 might be activated by various Bet v 1-related food allergens in vivo, even out of the pollen season.

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