Characterized allergens causing bakers' asthma

Authors

  • X. Baur,

    Corresponding author
    1. Research Institute for Occupational Medicine (BGFA), Bochum, Germany
      Prof. Dr med. X. Baur Research Institute for Occupational Medicine (BGFA) Bürkle-de-la-Camp-Platz 1 D-44789 Bochum Germany
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  • A. Posch

    1. Research Institute for Occupational Medicine (BGFA), Bochum, Germany
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Prof. Dr med. X. Baur Research Institute for Occupational Medicine (BGFA) Bürkle-de-la-Camp-Platz 1 D-44789 Bochum Germany

Abstract

Although airborne allergens in bakeries and confectioneries cause one of the most common forms of occupational asthma, namely, bakers' asthma, only a few of them are known in detail so far. Here we summarize current knowledge of bakery allergens and describe our own two-dimensional (2-D) immunoelectrophoresis studies of wheat-flour allergens as well as the allergenic baking enzyme Asp o 2. Out of approximately 700 soluble wheat polypeptides, 70 show IgE binding; the following wheat-flour allergens could be identified and characterized: members of the a-amylase inhibitor family (14–18 kDa), acyl-CoA oxidase (26 kDa), peroxidase (36 kDa), and fructose-bisphosphate aldolase (37 kDa). However, the great majority ofthe soluble wheat-flour allergens, mainly located in the 27-, 55-, and 70-kDa areas of the 2-D immunoblots with pi values of 5.8–6.8, 5.9–6.5, and 5.5–6.1, respectively, are not known at present. Asp o 2, to which approximately 25% of all bakers with respiratory symptoms are sensitized, is a well-characterized starch-cleaving enzyme. We conclude that great effort is still needed to describe all major wheat-flour allergens. As shown by Asp o 2, knowledge of the causative allergens and their characteristics enables us to initiate very effective preventive measures such as the introduction of granulated allergenic products.

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