cDNA cloning and heterologous expression of the major allergens from peach and apple belonging to the lipid-transfer protein family


Gabriel Salcedo, Unidad de Bioquímica, Departamento de Biotecnología, E.T.S. Ingenieros Agrónomos, Ciudad Universitaria, 28040 Madrid, Spain. E-mail:


Background Lipid-transfer proteins (LTPs) have been identified as major allergens of Rosaceae fruits in populations living in areas virtually free of Fagales trees, such as several Mediterranean communities. Pru p 3 and Mal d 3, the allergens from peach and apple, respectively, have a main clinical relevance in these areas.

Objetive To isolate and characterize cDNAs for Pru p 3 and Mal d 3,and to produce recombinant Pru p 3 in the yeast Pichia pastoris.

Methods cDNAs for both allergens were isolated by polymerase chain reaction using non-degenerated primers. Expression of Pru p 3 was performed in P. pastoris using the pPIC 9 vector. The recombinant product was purified by gel-filtration chromatography followed by RP-HPLC. Immunodetection and immunoblot inhibition assays were carried out with sera from peach-allergic patients.

Results The cDNAs for both Pru p 3 and Mal d 3 showed a 273 open reading frame coding for the 91 amino acid mature polypeptides. The deduced amino acid sequences exhibited N-terminal regions fully identical to those previously determined for the natural peach and apple allergens. Pru p 3 was expressed in P. pastoris at 20 mg/L of culture medium. The recombinant allergen showed the same N-terminal sequence (plus a glutamic acid added for proper extracellular expression) and apparent molecular size as natural Pru p 3. Both the recombinant and natural forms of Pru p 3 displayed similar immunoglobulin (Ig)E-binding capacity in immunodetection and immunoblot inhibition assays.

Conclusions Comparison of the complete primary structures of mature Pru p 3 and Mal d 3 deduced from their corresponding cDNA clones supports the close relationship between both allergens. Recombinant Pru p 3 binds IgE in vitro like its natural counterpart. Therefore, it can be a useful tool for specific diagnosis and structural studies.