Identification of profilin as an IgE-binding component in latex from Hevea brasiliensis: clinical implications


Dr P. Deviller, Immuno-Virologie Moieculaire et Cellulaire. CNRS UMR 30, Faculte de Medecine Alexis Carrel, rue Guillaume Paradin, 69372 Lyon Cedex 08. France.


Considering the high occurrence of profilin as an allergen in many plant species, the assumption was made that profilin might be an allergen in Hevea brasiliensis, a member of the latex producing Euphorbiaceae family. Using IgE-binding inhibition by purified profilins we demonstrated that profilin is an IgE-binding component in the cytosolic fraction of natural latex and, to a lower extent, in the rubber fraction. Thirty-five out of 36 sera containing IgE to ragweed-profilin reacted with profilin from latex, indicating structural homologies between profilins from latex and ragweed. A large percentage (59%) of these sera were found to be positive in CAP latex assay. The preincubation of these sera with purified ragweed profilin greatly inhibited the CAP latex. Because profilin is also present in banana extract, it is likely to be involved in cross-sensitivity to banana and latex. In a group of 19 individuals allergic to latex only two had antiprofilin IgE antibodies. Profilin was barely detectable on glove extract immunoblots, whereas some sera from patients allergic to latex reacted with a 15 kDa allergen which was not profilin. Consequently, IgE antibodies to latex-profilin is a questionable factor for sensitization of occupationally-exposed patients; however, sensitization to profilin should be taken into account when interpreting the results of latex IgE antibody assays.