A cDNA clone-coding for Der f I, a major allergen from the house dust mite Dermatophagoides farinae has been isolated and sequenced. It codes for a putative 18-residue signal peptide, an 80-residue proenzyme region, and a 223-residue mature protein with a derived molecular weight of 25 191. The deduced amino-acid sequence shows significant homology to other cysteine proteases in the proregion as well as in the mature protein. Sequence alignment of the mature Der f I protein with the homologous allergen Der p I from the related mite D. pteronyssinus revealed a high degree of homology (81%) between the two proteins, as predicted by previous sequencing at the protein level. In particular, the residues comprising the active site of these enzymes and the cysteine residues were conserved. A potential N-glycosylation site was present at an equivalent position in both mite allergens. It is anticipated that the availability of recombinant Derf I will facilitate epitope mapping studies and studies of T-cell function in mite allergy by providing high levels of pure allergen.
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