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The major royal jelly proteins 8 and 9 (Api m 11) are glycosylated components of Apis mellifera venom with allergenic potential beyond carbohydrate-based reactivity



Edzard Spillner, Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Department of Chemistry, University of Hamburg, Martin-Luther-King-Platz 6, 20146 Hamburg, Germany.




As hymenoptera venoms are one of the allergen sources causing the highest incidence of anaphylaxis and sometimes fatal consequences, the detailed characterization of all venom allergens is imperative for design of component-resolved diagnostic approaches and improved intervention strategies.


Our aim was the immunochemical characterization of major royal jelly proteins (MRJP) 8 and 9, both components identified in honeybee venom (HBV) and putative allergens.


Both MRJPs were recombinantly produced as soluble differentially glycosylated proteins providing a defined degree of reactivity to cross-reactive carbohydrate determinants (CCD) in insect cells. Allergen-specific IgE(sIgE) reactivity of HBV-allergic patients was analysed by ELISA and immunoblotting.


MRJP8 and MRJP9 were identified as venom components by MS-based proteomic analyses. In a population of 47 HBV-allergic patients, reactivities with CCD-carrying MRJPs were in the range of 56% (61%), underlining the contribution of CCDs to allergen-binding. Beyond CCD-reactivity, 15% of patients showed sIgEreactivity with MRJP8 and 34% with MRJP9 respectively. These reactivities roughly in the range of Api m 2 render the MRJPs minor, but important allergens.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance

The glycosylated MRJP8 and MRJP9 of HBV have IgE-sensitizing potential in HBV-allergic patients beyond CCD reactivity and have to be considered as allergens, which might be potentially important for a fraction of venom allergic patients. They are valuable tools to elucidate individual component-resolved reactivity profiles of venom allergic patients and to provide insights into the role of particular venom components. Due to their allergenic properties, MRJP8 and MRJP9 were designated as isoallergens Api m 11.0101 and Api m 11.0201 respectively.

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