Penicillium species are important causative agents of extrinsic bronchial asthma. However, little is known about the allergens of these ubiquitous fungal species. Objective The object was to analyse the composition, the allergenic cross-reactivity and the N-terminal sequences of allergens from two prevalent airborne Penicillium species, P. oxalicum and P. notatum.
The allergenic composition and the immunoglobulin (Ig)E cross-reactivity were analysed by immunoblot and immunoblot inhibition, respectively, using sera from asthmatic patients. The N-terminal amino acid sequences of major allergens were determined by Edman degradation. Allergens identified were also characterized by immunoblotting using monoclonal antibody (MoAb) PCM39 against the alkaline serine proteinase major allergen of P. citrinum.
Among the 70 asthmatic sera tested, 18 (26%) and 17 (24%) had IgE immunoblot reactivity towards components of P. oxalicum and P. notatum, respectively. Major allergens (> 80% frequency of IgE-binding) from both species are the 34 and 30 kDa proteins of P. oxalicum and the 34 and 32 kDa proteins of P. notatum. IgE cross-reactivity among these major allergens and the 33 kDa major allergen of P. citrinum can be detected by immunoblot inhibition studies. The N-terminal amino acid sequences of the 34 kDa allergen of P. oxalicum and of the 32 and the 28 kDa allergens of P. notatum share homology with sequences of the vacuolar serine proteinase from Aspergillus fumigatus. The N-terminal amino acid sequence of the 34 kDa allergen of P. notatum shows sequence homology with that of alkaline serine proteinase from P. citrinum. Results obtained from immunoblotting showed that MoAb PCM39 reacted with the 34, 30 and 16 kDa IgE-binding components of P. oxalicum, and with the 34, 32 and 28 kDa IgE-binding components of P. notatum.
Results obtained suggest that the 34 kDa major allergen of P. oxalicum may be a vacuolar serine proteinase. The 34 and the 32 kDa major allergens of P. notatum may be the alkaline and the vacuolar serine proteinases of P. notatum, respectively. The 30 and 16 kDa IgE-binding components of P. oxalicum and the 28 kDa IgE-binding component of P. notatum may be breakdown products of the 34 and the 32 kDa major vacuolar serine proteinase allergens of P. oxalicum and P. notatum, respectively.