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Keywords:

  • allelic variation;
  • allergen;
  • Api m 6;
  • bee venom;
  • signal peptide

Abstract

Several components of honeybee venom are known to cause allergenic responses in humans and other vertebrates. One such component, the minor allergen Api m 6, has been known to show amino acid variation but the genetic mechanism for this variation is unknown. Here we show that Api m 6 is derived from a single locus, and that substantial protein-level variation has a simple genome-level cause, without the need to invoke multiple loci or alternatively spliced exons. Api m 6 sits near a misassembled section of the honeybee genome sequence, and we propose that a substantial number of indels at and near Api m 6 might be the root cause of this misassembly. We suggest that genes such as Api m 6 with coding-region or untranslated region indels might have had a strong effect on the assembly of this draft of the honeybee genome.