Allergens from birch pollen and pollen of the European chestnut share common epitopes


Dr O. Scheiner, Institute of General and Experimental Pathology, AKH, University of Vienna, Wahringer Giirtel 18–20, A-1090-Vienna, Austria.


Type I allergy to pollen of the European chestnut (Castanea sativa) represents a major cause of pollinosis in (sub) Mediterranean areas. Using sera from 14 patients with established allergy to pollen of the European chestnut, 13/14 sera (92%) showed IgE-binding to a 22 kD protein, 2/14(14%) displayed additional binding to a 14 kD protein and 1/14 (7%) bound only to the 14 kD protein of European chestnut pollen extract. Two monoclonal mouse antibodies, BIP 1 and BIP 4, directed against different epitopes of Bet v I (the major birch pollen allergen), and a rabbit antibody to recombinant birch profilin (rBet v II) were used to characterize the proteins of the European chestnut pollen. The recombinant birch pollen allergens, r Bet v I and r Bet v II (profilin) were employed to show common allergenic structures on proteins from both birch and European chestnut pollen by IgE-inhibition experiments. Despite the fact that the 22 kD protein displayed a higher molecular weight in comparison to the 17 kD major birch pollen allergen, Bet v I, we could demonstrate reactivity of both monoclonal antibodies, BIP 1 and BIP 4, with this protein. A complete inhibiton of IgE-binding to this 22 kD protein was shown by pre-incubating sera with purified recombinant Set r I. In addition, the 14kD protein could be identified by IgE-inhibition studies with recombinant Bet v II and by using a rabbit anti-profilin antibody as the profilin from pollen of the European chestnut.