Immunologic characterization of the recombinant fire ant venom allergen Sol i 3


Margit Schmidt, PhD Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University Greenville NC 27858 USA


Individuals sensitized to fire ant stings show immunoglobulin (Ig)E antibodies against the venom protein Sol i 3. We determined the full-length complementary DNA (cDNA) sequence of this protein and expressed recombinant Sol i 3 in immunogenic form. The complete cDNA of Sol i 3 was obtained by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and PCR + 1 reactions using gene-specific oligonucleotides, and oligonucleotides designed from the amino acid sequence of this protein. The encoding cDNA is 705 bp in length corresponding to 235 amino acids. The first 22 amino acids are a leader sequence. The protein with an added C-terminal hexahistidine tag was expressed in insect cells using a baculovirus system. The recombinant protein was secreted into the supernatant and affinity purified with a cobalt chelating resin. The recombinant fire ant venom allergen Sol i 3 showed similar IgE binding activity to the native protein in radioallergosorbent test (RAST) and RAST inhibition assays. It was produced in both a glycosylated and an unglycosylated form. A three-dimensional reconstruction of Sol i 3 was compared with the experimentally determined structure of the related allergen Ves v 5. This model is supported by results of circular dichroism spectroscopy.