Birch pollen associated allergy to mung bean sprouts is caused by cross-reactivity between the birch pollen allergen Bet v 1 and the mung bean allergen Vig r 1. We aimed to determine the allergenicity of the cytokinin-specific binding protein from mung bean (Vig r 6), another allergen related to Bet v 1 with only 31% sequence identity.
Methods and results
Bet v 1, Gly m 4, Vig r 1, and Vig r 6 were produced in Escherichia coli. In an ELISA, 73 and 32% of Bet v 1-sensitized birch-allergic patients’ sera (n = 60) showed IgE binding to Vig r 1 and Vig r 6, respectively. Of 19 patients who reported allergic reactions or had positive prick-to-prick tests to mung bean sprouts, 79% showed IgE binding to Vig r 1 and 63% showed IgE binding to Vig r 6. Bet v 1 completely inhibited IgE binding to both mung bean allergens. Vig r 6 showed partial cross-reactivity with Vig r 1 and activated basophils sensitized with mung bean allergic patients’ sera.
We demonstrated IgE cross-reactivity despite low sequence identity between Vig r 6 and other Bet v 1-related allergens. Thus, IgE binding to Vig r 6 may contribute to birch pollinosis-associated mung bean sprout allergy.