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Abstract

Ves v 5 is one of three major allergens found in yellow-jacket venom: phospholipase A1 (Ves v 1), hyaluronidase (Ves v 2), and antigen 5 (Ves v 5). Ves v 5 is related by high amino acid sequence identity to pathogenesis-related proteins including proteins from mammals, reptiles, insects, fungi, and plants. The crystal structure of Ves v 5 has been solved and refined to a resolution of 1.9 Å. The majority of residues conserved between the pathogenesis-related proteins can be rationalized in terms of hydrogen bonding patterns and hydrophobic interactions defining an α-β-α sandwich core structure. A small number of consensus residues are solvent exposed (including two adjacent histidines) and located in an elongated cavity that forms a putative active site. The site has no structural resemblance to previously characterized enzymes. Homologous antigen 5's from a large number of different yellow jackets, hornets, and paper wasps are known and patients show varying extents of cross-reactivity to the related antigen 5's. The structure of Ves v 5 allows a detailed analysis of the epitopes that may participate in antigenic cross-reactivity, findings that are useful for the development of a vaccine for treatment of insect allergy. Proteins 2001;45:438–448. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.