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Clinical & Experimental Allergy

The diversity of allergens involved in bakers' asthma

Authors

  • R. SUTTON,

    1. CSIRO Wheat Research Unit. Private Bag, Post Office, North Ryde, New South Wales. Australia 2113
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    • *

      CSIRO Division of Animal Production. P.O. Box 239, Blacktown, New South Wales 2148;

  • J. H. SKERRlTT,

    1. CSIRO Wheat Research Unit. Private Bag, Post Office, North Ryde, New South Wales. Australia 2113
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    • Department of Pharmacology, University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006.

  • B. A. BALDO,

    1. CSIRO Wheat Research Unit. Private Bag, Post Office, North Ryde, New South Wales. Australia 2113
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  • C. W. WRIGLEY

    1. CSIRO Wheat Research Unit. Private Bag, Post Office, North Ryde, New South Wales. Australia 2113
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Summary

Sera from 35 individuals with suspected allergies to inhaled flour were screened for the presence of immunoglobulin E (IgE) specific for wheat-flour proteins. Sera from nine asthmatic bakers with high wheat RAST scores were selected for further study with the aim of purifying the allergen(s) involved in bakers’ asthma and related conditions. However, each of the different techniques applied–ion exchange chromatography, preparative isoelectric focusing and the electrophoretic transfer, or‘Western blotting’ technique, showed that serum IgE from different individuals have markedly different specificities and bind to numerous wheat proteins. When three purified wheat proteins were tested–wheat germ agglutinin; a fraction purified using a concanavalin-A affinity column and a putative trypsin inhibitor–all were identified as allergens for some but not all of the allergic bakers.

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