Background Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica; CJ) pollinosis has been reported to occur naturally in Japanese monkeys (Macaca fuscata) as well as in humans. Most human patients and monkeys with pollinosis have specific IgE for Cry j 2, a major allergen of CJ pollen.
Objective The main purpose of this study was to identify IgE B cell epitopes of Cry j 2 using a synthetic peptide in humans, monkeys and mice.
Methods We synthesized 38 overlapping peptides that span the entire length of Cry j 2. We examined the B cell epitopes of Cry j 2 that are recognized by IgE in the sera of human patients and monkeys with pollinosis and immunized mice using synthetic peptides of Cry j 2. We also examined the reaction of Cry j 2-specific mouse monoclonal IgG antibodies to the peptides. Furthermore, we conducted a histamine release assay with leucocytes from a pollinosis patient using human serum albumin (HSA) conjugated with the peptides as a B cell epitope.
Results We found that 16 of the 20 pollinosis patients who had specific IgE to Cry j 2 also exhibited IgE reaction with some Cry j 2 peptides. Of these 16 patients, 10 exhibited IgE reaction with Cry j 2 peptide no. 13 (121GQCKWVNGREICNDRDRPTA140). Five of the seven monkeys with CJ pollinosis exhibited a reaction with peptide no. 13. Furthermore, IgE in mice immunized with Cry j 2 and two mouse monoclonal IgG antibodies reacted with peptide no. 13. Peptide no. 13-conjugated HSA showed the release of histamine from basophils. Furthermore, to determine the minimum epitope in peptide no. 13, we conducted an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay inhibition test. The core of the epitope in humans, monkeys and mice was 124KWVNGREI131.
Conclusion We found that 124KWVNGREI131 is an important B cell epitope recognized by IgE in humans, monkeys and mice.