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Role of carbohydrate moieties in IgE binding to allergenic components of Cupressus arizonica pollen extract


Pini Laboratory of Immunology, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 — Rome, Italy.



A reduction of IgE immunoreactivity after periodate-treatment has been previously reported for various glycoprotein allergens.


The aim of this study was to investigate the role of glycan moiety of a C. arizonica extract in the binding of patients' IgE and to identify the carbohydrates possibly involved.


The reactivity of IgE with C. arizonica extract, before and after periodate-treatment, was evaluated by immunoblotting and ELISA inhibition. The specificity of carbohydrate-reactive IgE was evaluated by ELISA using unrelated glycoproteins with known sugar composition and structure, such as pineapple bromelain, honeybee venom phospholipase A2, and ovalbumin, before and after periodate treatment.


When periodate-treated C. arizonica extract was probed after SDS-PAGE and immunoblotting with patients' IgE, no reactivity could be detected. Furthermore, a very poor inhibitory activity of the periodate-treated C. arizonica extract as compared with the untreated sample could be observed in the ELISA inhibition experiments performed using C. arizonica extract as antigen. When phospholipase A2 and bromelain were used as antigens in ELISA, they were recognized by patients' IgE, whereas ovalbumin was negative. Treatment of phospholipase A2 and bromelain with periodate completely abolishes the IgE reactivity.


A large portion of the IgE reactivity of Cupressaceae-allergic subjects appears to be associated with sugar moieties of C. arizonica extract which appear to be shared by bromelain and phospholipase A2, thus suggesting that the IgE of patients reacting with such epitopes probably react with β 1 → 2 xylose, α 1 → 3 fucose and/or α 1 → 6 fucose.

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