4. Food Allergens—Molecular and Immunological Characteristics

  1. Dean D. Metcalfe MD3,
  2. Hugh A. Sampson MD4,
  3. Ronald A. Simon MD5,6 and
  4. Gideon Lack MBBCh (Oxon), MA (Oxon), FRCPCH7
  1. Heimo Breiteneder1 and
  2. E.N. Clare Mills2

Published Online: 24 FEB 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9781118744185.ch4

Food Allergy: Adverse Reactions to Foods and Food Additives, Fifth Edition

Food Allergy: Adverse Reactions to Foods and Food Additives, Fifth Edition

How to Cite

Breiteneder, H. and Clare Mills, E.N. (2013) Food Allergens—Molecular and Immunological Characteristics, in Food Allergy: Adverse Reactions to Foods and Food Additives, Fifth Edition (eds D. D. Metcalfe, H. A. Sampson, R. A. Simon and G. Lack), John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118744185.ch4

Editor Information

  1. 3

    Chief, Laboratory of Allergic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA

  2. 4

    Kurt Hirschhorn Professor of Pediatrics, Dean for Translational Biomedical Sciences, Director, Jaffe Food Allergy Institute Department of Pediatrics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA

  3. 5

    Head, Division of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Scripps Clinic, San Diego, CA, USA

  4. 6

    Adjunct Professor, Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA

  5. 7

    Professor of Paediatric Allergy, King's College London Clinical Lead for Allergy Service, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, St Thomas' Hospital, London, UK

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

  2. 2

    Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 FEB 2014
  2. Published Print: 10 DEC 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470672556

Online ISBN: 9781118744185



  • allergen protein families;
  • classification of food allergens;
  • animal food allergens;
  • plant food allergens;
  • molecular features of allergens;
  • allergen databases


In the recent decade, our knowledge of allergens has increased tremendously. It has become clear that all allergens are members of a highly limited number of protein families. This chapter describes the major and minor animal and plant food allergen families and gives examples for the most relevant allergens and their sources. The significance of molecular features such as thermal and proteolytic stability and how they are linked to allergenicity are discussed. This chapter also includes an overview and an evaluation of the currently available allergen databases.