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Immunologic analysis of monoclonal and immunoglobulin E antibody epitopes on natural and recombinant Amb a 1


Nicole Wopfner, Christian Doppler Laboratory for Allergy Diagnosis and Therapy, Department of Molecular Biology, University of Salzburg, Hellbrunnerstrasse 34, A-5020 Salzburg, Austria.


Background Amb a 1 is the major allergen from ragweed pollen and more than 90% of ragweed-allergic patients react with this protein. Although Amb a 1 was cloned and sequenced in 1991, little is known of the specificity of anti-Amb a 1 antibodies or of the immunologic properties of the recombinant allergen.

Objective To compare binding of monoclonal antibodies (mAb) and IgE antibodies to purified natural Amb a 1 (nAmb a 1) and recombinant Amb a 1 (rAmb a 1).

Methods Binding of a panel of anti-Amb a 1 mAb and IgE antibodies to nAmb a 1 or rAmb a 1 was compared by immunoblotting. Chimeric ELISA was used to measure specific IgE to these allergens using 89 ragweed-allergic sera from Austria, Italy, Canada and the United States.

Results The 8 mAb bound to a 38 kDa Amb a 1 band in ragweed pollen extract and a subset of 5 mAb also bound to the 26 kDa chain of nAmb a 1. A two-site ELISA was developed using a mAb pair, which was ∼10-fold more sensitive to rAmb a 1. There was a significant correlation between IgE antibody binding to nAmb a 1 and rAmb a 1 (n=89, r=0.79, P<0.001). A subset of ∼40% of patients showed greater reactivity to nAmb a 1 than to rAmb a 1.

Conclusions The data suggest that there is less reactivity of human IgE to rAmb a 1 compared with nAmb a 1. The development of more sensitive, quantitative ELISA for Amb a 1 will require the production of new mAb especially directed against nAmb a 1.