Get access

The major allergen of the Parietaria pollen contains an LPS-binding region with immuno-modulatory activity


  • Edited by: Reto Crameri


Paolo Colombo, Istituto di Biomedicina ed Immunologia Molecolare, Via Ugo La Malfa 153, 90146 Palermo, Italy.

Tel.: 0039 091 6809535

Fax: 0039 091 6809548




The major allergens in Parietaria pollen, Par j 1 and Par j 2, have been identified as lipid transfer proteins. The family of the Par j 1 allergens is composed of two isoforms, which differ by the presence of a 37 amino acid peptide (Par37) exclusive to the Par j 1.0101 isoform. The goal of this study was to elucidate the biological properties of the Par37 peptide.


In silico analysis, spectrofluorimetric experiments and in vitro cell culture assays were used to identify the biological properties of Par37. In addition, a mouse model of sensitization was used to study the influence of Par37 in the murine immune response.


In silico analysis predicted that Par37 displays characteristics of a host defence peptide. Spectrofluorimetric analysis, real-time PCR and ELISA assays demonstrated that Par37 possesses an LPS-binding activity influencing cell signalling in vitro. In RAW264.7 cells, LPS-induced IL-6 and TNF-α transcription and translation were inhibited after preincubation with Par37. Consistent with these data, inhibition of IFN-γ secretion was observed in murine spleen cells and in human PBMC. Finally, mice immunized with the two Par j 1 isoforms differing in the presence or absence of the Par37 peptide showed different immunological behaviours in vivo.


This study demonstrates that the Par j 1.0101 allergen displays LPS-binding activity due to the presence of a 37 amino acid COOH-terminal region and that this region is capable of influencing cytokine and antibody responses in vitro and in vivo.