Molecular cloning and characterization of a new Japanese cedar pollen allergen homologous to plant isoflavone reductase family


  • 1

    These authors equally contributed to this work.

  • The sequence data reported in this paper have been deposited in the GenBank Sequence Database under accession number AY028631.

S. Kawamoto, Department of Molecular Biotechnology, Graduate School of Advanced sciences of Matter, Hiroshima University, 1-3-1 Kagamiyama, Higashi-Hiroshima 739-8530, Japan. E-mail: skawa@


Background Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) pollen is a major cause of seasonal pollinosis, and more than 10% of Japanese people suffer from this allergic disorder. However, only two major pollen allergens, Cry j 1 and Cry j 2, have been identified and exclusively characterized.

Objective The aim of this study was to explore and identify important Japanese cedar pollen allergens other than Cry j 1 or Cry j 2.

MethodsC. japonica cDNA library was immunoscreened by rabbit antiserum raised against a partially purified cedar pollen allergen fraction. An isolated cDNA clone was inserted into a glutathione S-transferase (GST)-tagged Escherichia coli expression vector to obtain recombinant GST fusion protein. Non-fusion recombinant protein was purified by glutathione Sepharose affinity chromatography in conjunction with factor Xa cleavage of the GST moiety. IgE-binding ability of the recombinant protein was then evaluated by western blot analysis and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

Results The cDNA encodes 306 amino acids with significant sequence similarity to those of plant isoflavone reductase-like proteins, which include a recently identified birch pollen allergen Bet v 5. Western blot analysis demonstrated that recombinant protein was recognized by cedar pollinosis patient IgE. In contrast to Bet v 5 being reported as a minor allergen, the recombinant protein exhibited 76% IgE binding frequency (19/25) against pollinosis patients.

Conclusion Here we identified the third member of Japanese cedar pollen allergen homologous to isoflavone reductase. Its high IgE-binding frequency implicates that the isoflavone reductase homologue might be an additional major pollen allergen in C. japonica.