Molecular Characterization of Api g 1, the Major Allergen of Celery (Apium graveolens), and Its Immumological and Structural Relationships to a Group of 17-kDa Tree Pollen Allergens


  • Note. The nucleotide sequence reported in this paper has been submitted to the EMBL/Gen Bank/DDBJ nucleotide sequence databases and is available under accession number 248967.

H. Breiteneder, Institute of General & Experimental Pathology, University of Vienna, AKH-EBO-3Q, Wahringer Gürtel 18-20, A-1090 Vienna, Austria
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Individuals suffering from immediate hypersensitivity (type-I allergy) to a particular pollen frequently display intolerance to several foods of plant origin. In this respect, individuals sensitized to birch pollen and/or mugwort pollen frequently display type-I allergic symptoms after ingestion of celery. In this study, we expressed the major allergenic protein of celery, Api g 1, which is responsible for the birch-celery syndrome, in the form of a non-fusion protein. The open reading frame of the cDNA of Api g 1 codes for a protein of 153 amino acids with a molecular mass of 16.2 kDa and 40% identity (60% similarity) to the major allergen of birch pollen, Bet v 1. Furthermore, Api g 1 exhibited similar characteristics to (a) two proteins in parsley induced by fungal infection, (b) the major tree pollen allergens and (c) pathogenesis-related and stress-induced proteins in other plant species. The reactivity of recombinant Api g 1 with IgE antibodies present in sera from celery intolerant patients was comparable to that of the natural celery allergen. Cross-reactivity with Bet v 1 was proven by cross-inhibition experiments, which provides further support for the existence of the birch-celery syndrome and for the suggestion that allergies to some vegetable foods are epiphenomena to allergies caused by inhalation of tree pollen.