Cloning of a group 3 allergen from Blomia tropicalis mites


Prof Chua Kaw Yan
Department of Paediatrics
Faculty of Medicine
National University of Singapore
Lower Kent Ridge
Singapore 119074


Background: Blomia tropicalis is an important mite species in the tropics and subtropical regions of the world. It is well established that the allergen from this species of mite is one of the triggering factors for allergic asthma. The isolation and characterization of allergens in this mite species is desired to provide sensitive and specific reagents for diagnostic as well as therapeutic purposes.

Methods:  The SMART (Clontech Laboratories, Palo Alto, CA, USA) rapid amplification of complementary DNA ends (RACE cDNA amplification) method was used to isolate the putative Blo t 3 gene. Polymerase chain reactions (PCR) were performed in the presence of specific gene primers to obtain the full-length gene, and were confirmed by DNA sequencing. The putative gene was cloned into E. coli expression vector GST-4T-1 and expressed as a fusion protein with glutathione-S-transferase (GST). The allergenicity of the GST-Blo t 3 recombinant protein was evaluated by human IgE enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) and skin pricks tests.

Results:  The full length Blo t 3 gene had 1138 base pairs, including a 105-bp long 5′ nontranslated region, an ATG start codon at positions 106–108, and a stop codon TAA at positions 904–906, with an open reading frame coding for a polypeptide of 266 amino acids. Protein analysis revealed that it was a serine protease that had a prepro-mature structure that shared high sequence homology with group 3 dust mite allergens. The predicted molecular weight of the matured protein was approximately 23.8 kD with a theoretical pI of 8.87. The frequency of IgE reactivity of the recombinant protein showed up to 50% of IgE reactivity with mite allergic subjects but IgE titer was generally low.

Conclusion: We had isolated and fully characterized the cDNA encoding an important B. tropicalis allergen that was highly homologous to Group 3 dust mite allergens and we proposed that it should be designated as Blo t 3. Its clinical importance was implicated by the high frequency of IgE reactivity with allergic sera.