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Keywords:

  • Allergy;
  • T cells;
  • Antibodies;
  • Antigens/peptides/epitopes;
  • Vaccination

Abstract

Novel approaches for the prevention of allergy are required, because of the inevitably increasing prevalence of allergic diseases during the last 30 years. Here, a recombinant chimeric protein, which comprises the whole amino acid sequences of three bee venom major allergens has been engineered and used in prevention of bee venom sensitization in mice. Phospholipase A2 (Api m 1), hyaluronidase (Api m 2) and melittin (Api m 3) fragments with overlapping amino acids were assembled in a different order in the Api m (1/2/3) chimeric protein, which preserved entire T cell epitopes, whereas B cell epitopes of all three allergens were abrogated. Accordingly, IgE cross-linking leading to mast cell and basophil mediator release was profoundly reduced in humans. Supporting these findings, the Api m (1/2/3) induced 100 to 1000 times less type-1 skin test reactivity in allergic patients. Treatment of mice with Api m (1/2/3) led to a significant reduction of specific IgE development towards native allergen, representing a protective vaccine effect in vivo. These results demonstrate a novel prototype of a preventive allergy vaccine, which preserves the entire T cell epitope repertoire, but bypasses induction of IgE against native allergen, and side effects related to mast cell/basophil IgE FcϵRI cross-linking in sensitized individuals.