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Keywords:

  • allergens;
  • clinical immunology;
  • food allergy;
  • IgE;
  • pollens

Background:  No strawberry allergen has so far been identified and characterized.

Methods:  Serum samples were collected from patients with a suggestive case history of adverse reactions to strawberry and other fruits. Extracts from fresh and frozen strawberries were analysed by sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), Western blotting and mass spectrometry. Patient blood samples were analysed for inhibition of IgE binding and basophil degranulation.

Results:  Several IgE-binding proteins could be detected. In more than half of the patient sera, a 20/18-kDa doublet band was observed in Western blotting. These two bands were excised and analysed by mass spectrometry showing the presence of proteins belonging to the Bet v 1 family of allergens. Inhibition of the IgE binding to the 20/18-kDa doublet was obtained by addition of two recombinantly expressed allergens belonging to the Bet v 1 family (Bet v 1 and Mal d 1) and strawberry protein extract. In a cell-based assay of patient blood samples, basophil degranulation could be induced by strawberry protein extract and by Bet v 1 and Mal d 1.

Conclusions:  We conclude that strawberry homologues to Bet v 1 may be allergens of importance for adverse reactions to strawberry.