Background Tropomyosin belongs to a class of highly conserved proteins in invertebrates and vertebrates. The invertebrate tropomyosins are allergenic in man with high IgE cross-reactivity and have been therefore referred to as pan-allergens.
Objectives This study aimed to clone and identify the IgE epitopes of tropomyosin from Blomia tropicalis (Blo t 10) mite. Cross-reactivity between the IgE epitopes of Blo t 10 and Der p 10 was also evaluated.
Methods Blo t 10 was isolated using mouse anti-Der p 10 antibodies. Allergenicity of the cloned Blo t 10 was confirmed by skin prick test (SPT) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Dose-dependent inhibition assay was performed to determine the degree of IgE cross-reactivity between Blo t 10 and Der p 10. Overlapping polymerase chain reaction-derived cDNA were generated and expressed as glutathione-S-transferase (GST) recombinant proteins in Escherichia coli and used to identify shared and unique IgE epitopes of Blo t 10 and Der p 10.
Results The cloned Blo t 10 shared up to 96% amino acid identity to tropomyosin of other mites. SPT and ELISA IgE-immunoassay showed recombinant Blo t 10 sensitization rates of between 20% and 29% in atopic subjects. Results of SPT and dose-dependent inhibition assays showed that some allergic individuals had unique IgE epitopes for Blo t 10. IgE epitope mapping of Blo t 10 revealed that the epitopes were mainly located at N- and C-termini of the molecule. The results of ELISA inhibition assays of overlapping recombinant fragments indicated that the unique IgE epitopes of Blo t 10 were located at the C-terminal.
Conclusion Although Blo t 10 and Der p 10 are highly conserved (shared 95% amino acids identity) and significantly cross-reactive, unique IgE epitopes do exist. The results suggest the potential deficiency of using only one of these highly conserved allergens as diagnostic or therapeutic reagents.