Publications by authors named "Christof Ebner"

64 Publications

IgE-cross-blocking antibodies to Fagales following sublingual immunotherapy with recombinant Bet v 1.

Allergy 2021 08 6;76(8):2555-2564. Epub 2021 May 6.

Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, Center for Pathophysiology, Infectiology and Immunology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Background: Evidence has accumulated that birch pollen immunotherapy reduces rhinoconjunctivitis to pollen of birch homologous trees. Therapeutic efficacy has been associated with IgE-blocking IgG antibodies. We have recently shown that sera collected after 16 weeks of sublingual immunotherapy with recombinant Bet v 1 (rBet v 1-SLIT) display strong IgE-blocking bioactivity for Bet v 1. Here, we assessed whether rBet v 1-SLIT-induced IgG antibodies display cross-blocking activity to related allergens in Fagales pollen.

Methods: IgE, IgG1 and IgG4 reactivity to recombinant Bet v 1, Aln g 1, Car b 1, Ost c 1, Cor a 1, Fag s 1, Cas s 1 and Que a 1 were assessed in pre- and post-SLIT samples of 17 individuals by ELISA. A basophil inhibition assay using stripped basophils re-sensitized with a serum pool containing high Bet v 1-specific IgE levels was established and used to assess CD63 expression in response to allergens after incubation with pre-SLIT or post-SLIT samples. IgG1 and IgG4 were depleted from post-SLIT samples to assess its contribution to IgE-cross-blocking.

Results: Sublingual immunotherapy with recombinant Bet v 1 boosted cross-reactive IgE antibodies and induced IgG1 and IgG4 antibodies with inter- and intra-individually differing reactivity to the homologs. Highly variable cross-blocking activities of post-SLIT samples to the different allergens were found. IgG1 and IgG4 antibodies displayed cross-blocking activity with individual variance.

Conclusions: Our mechanistic approach suggested that immunotherapy with the reference allergen Bet v 1 induces individual repertoires of cross-reactive IgG1 and IgG4 antibodies. The cross-blocking bioactivity of these antibodies was also highly variable and neither predictable from protein homology nor IgE-cross-reactivity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/all.14817DOI Listing
August 2021

Tropomyosins in mosquito and house dust mite cross-react at the humoral and cellular level.

Clin Exp Allergy 2018 10 14;48(10):1354-1363. Epub 2018 Aug 14.

Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Background: Aedes aegypti and Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus contain important allergens including cross-reactive tropomyosins. However, the functional and clinical relevance of their cross-reactivity is still debated.

Objective: To analyse the humoral and cellular cross-reactivity of recombinant Aed a 10.01, Aed a 10.02 and Der p 10.

Methods: Sera from 15 Austrian house dust mite-allergic, Der p 10-sensitized individuals were tested for IgE reactivity to recombinant tropomyosins in ELISA, inhibition ELISA and basophil activation tests. BALB/c mice were immunized with Aed a 10.01 or Aed a 10.02, and their sera were assessed for reactivity to all tropomyosins. Splenocytes were stimulated with all tropomyosins and synthetic peptides representing the amino acid sequence of Aed a 10.01.

Results: IgE antibodies of Der p 10-sensitized patients cross-reacted with both tropomyosins from A. aegypti. Aed a 10.01 was a more potent inhibitor of IgE binding to Der p 10 and a stronger activator of basophils sensitized with Der p 10-specific IgE than Aed a 10.02. Murine antibodies raised against Aed a 10.01 and Aed a 10.02 cross-reacted with Der p 10. Aed a 10.01-specific antibody showed stronger cross-reactivity with Der p 10 than Aed a 10.02-specific antibody. Splenocytes from both groups of mice proliferated similarly to all tropomyosins. Five cross-reactive T cell-activating regions were identified.

Conclusion And Clinical Relevance: Tropomyosins from D. pteronyssinus and A. aegypti show humoral and cellular cross-reactivity, involving 5 potential T cell-activating regions. The more pronounced cross-reactivity of Aed a 10.01 and Der p 10 matched the higher sequence similarity of both proteins.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cea.13229DOI Listing
October 2018

Endolysosomal protease susceptibility of Amb a 1 as a determinant of allergenicity.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2018 04 20;141(4):1488-1491.e5. Epub 2017 Nov 20.

Department of Molecular Biology, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2017.10.027DOI Listing
April 2018

Proteomic profiling of the weed feverfew, a neglected pollen allergen source.

Sci Rep 2017 07 20;7(1):6049. Epub 2017 Jul 20.

University of Salzburg, Department of Molecular Biology, Division of Allergy and Immunology, Salzburg, Austria.

Feverfew (Parthenium hysterophorus), an invasive weed from the Asteraceae family, has been reported as allergen source. Despite its relevance, knowledge of allergens is restricted to a partial sequence of a hydroxyproline-rich glycoprotein. We aimed to obtain the entire sequence for recombinant production and characterize feverfew pollen using proteomics and immunological assays. Par h 1, a defensin-proline fusion allergen was obtained by cDNA cloning and recombinantly produced in E. coli. Using two complementary proteomic strategies, a total of 258 proteins were identified in feverfew pollen among those 47 proteins belonging to allergenic families. Feverfew sensitized patients' sera from India revealed IgE reactivity with a pectate lyase, PR-1 protein and thioredoxin in immonoblot. In ELISA, recombinant Par h 1 was recognized by 60 and 40% of Austrian and Indian sera, respectively. Inhibition assays demonstrated the presence of IgE cross-reactive Par h 1, pectate lyase, lipid-transfer protein, profilin and polcalcin in feverfew pollen. This study reveals significant data on the allergenic composition of feverfew pollen and makes recombinant Par h 1 available for cross-reactivity studies. Feverfew might become a global player in weed pollen allergy and inclusion of standardized extracts in routine allergy diagnosis is suggested in exposed populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-06213-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5519751PMC
July 2017

Expression and Characterization of Functional Recombinant Bet v 1.0101 in the Chloroplast of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.

Int Arch Allergy Immunol 2017 12;173(1):44-50. Epub 2017 May 12.

Department of Biotechnology and Food Engineering, MCI Management Center Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.

Background: Allergen immunotherapy (AIT) still plays a minor role in the treatment of allergic diseases. To improve the acceptance of AIT by allergic patients, the treatment has to become more convenient and efficacious. One possibility is the oral application of allergens or derivatives thereof. Therefore, we sought to produce a recombinant allergen in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as a novel production platform.

Methods: The major birch pollen allergen Bet v 1 was selected as candidate molecule, and a codon-optimized gene was synthesized and stably integrated into the microalga C. reinhardtii FUD50. Positive transformants were identified by PCR, cultured, and thereafter cells were disrupted by sonication. Bet v 1 was purified from algal total soluble protein (TSP) by affinity chromatography and characterized physicochemically as well as immunologically.

Results: All transformants showed expression of the allergen with yields between 0.01 and 0.04% of TSP. Algal-derived Bet v 1 displayed similar secondary structure elements as the Escherichia coli-produced reference allergen. Moreover, Bet v 1 produced in C. reinhardtii showed binding comparable to human IgE as well as murine Bet v 1-specific IgG.

Conclusion: We could successfully produce recombinant Bet v 1 in C. reinhardtii. As microalgae are classified as GRAS (generally recognized as safe), the pilot study supports the development of novel allergy treatment concepts such as the oral administration of allergen-containing algal extracts for therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000471852DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5452284PMC
August 2017

T Cell Epitope-Containing Domains of Ragweed Amb a 1 and Mugwort Art v 6 Modulate Immunologic Responses in Humans and Mice.

PLoS One 2017 12;12(1):e0169784. Epub 2017 Jan 12.

Christian Doppler Laboratory for Allergy Diagnosis and Therapy, Department of Molecular Biology, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria.

Background: Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) and mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) are the major cause of pollen allergy in late summer. Allergen-specific lymphocytes are crucial for immune modulation during immunotherapy. We sought to generate and pre-clinically characterise highly immunogenic domains of the homologous pectate lyases in ragweed (Amb a 1) and mugwort pollen (Art v 6) for immunotherapy.

Methods: Domains of Amb a 1 (Amb a 1α) and Art v 6 (Art v 6α) and a hybrid molecule, consisting of both domains, were designed, expressed in E. coli and purified. Human IgE reactivity and allergenicity were assessed by ELISA and mediator release experiments using ragweed and mugwort allergic patients. Moreover, T cell proliferation was determined. Blocking IgG antibodies and cytokine production in BALB/c mice were studied by ELISA and ELISPOT.

Results: The IgE binding capacity and in vitro allergenic activity of the Amb a 1 and Art v 6 domains and the hybrid were either greatly reduced or abolished. The recombinant proteins induced T cell proliferative responses comparable to those of the natural allergens, indicative of retained allergen-specific T cell response. Mice immunisation with the hypoallergens induced IL-4, IL-5, IL-13 and IFN-γ production after antigen-specific in vitro re-stimulation of splenocytes. Moreover, murine IgG antibodies that inhibited specific IgE binding of ragweed and mugwort pollen allergic patients were detected.

Conclusion: Accumulation of T cell epitopes and deletion of IgE reactive areas of Amb a 1 and Art v 6, modulated the immunologic properties of the allergen immuno-domains, leading to promising novel candidates for therapeutic approach.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0169784PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5231356PMC
August 2017

Tackling Bet v 1 and associated food allergies with a single hybrid protein.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2017 Aug 7;140(2):525-533.e10. Epub 2016 Dec 7.

Department of Molecular Biology, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria. Electronic address:

Background: Allergy vaccines should be easily applicable, safe, and efficacious. For Bet v 1-mediated birch pollen and associated food allergies, a single wild-type allergen does not provide a complete solution.

Objective: We aimed to combine immunologically relevant epitopes of Bet v 1 and the 2 clinically most important related food allergens from apple and hazelnut to a single hybrid protein, termed MBC4.

Methods: After identification of T cell epitope-containing parts on each of the 3 parental allergens, the hybrid molecule was designed to cover relevant epitopes and evaluated in silico. Thereby a mutation was introduced into the hybrid sequence, which should alter the secondary structure without compromising the immunogenic properties of the molecule.

Results: MBC4 and the parental allergens were purified to homogeneity. Analyses of secondary structure elements revealed substantial changes rendering the hybrid de facto nonreactive with patients' serum IgE. Nevertheless, the protein was monomeric in solution. MBC4 was able to activate T-cell lines from donors with birch pollen allergy and from mice immunized with the parental allergens. Moreover, on immunization of mice and rabbits, MBC4 induced cross-reactive IgG antibodies, which were able to block the binding of human serum IgE.

Conclusion: Directed epitope rearrangements combined with a knowledge-based structural modification resulted in a protein unable to bind IgE from allergic patients. Still, properties to activate specific T cells or induce blocking antibodies were conserved. This suggests that MBC4 is a suitable vaccine candidate for the simultaneous treatment of Bet v 1 and associated food allergies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2016.09.055DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5693327PMC
August 2017

A Cross-Reactive Human Single-Chain Antibody for Detection of Major Fish Allergens, Parvalbumins, and Identification of a Major IgE-Binding Epitope.

PLoS One 2015 18;10(11):e0142625. Epub 2015 Nov 18.

Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Fish allergy is associated with moderate to severe IgE-mediated reactions to the calcium binding parvalbumins present in fish muscle. Allergy to multiple fish species is caused by parvalbumin-specific cross-reactive IgE recognizing conserved epitopes. In this study, we aimed to produce cross-reactive single chain variable fragment (scFv) antibodies for the detection of parvalbumins in fish extracts and the identification of IgE epitopes. Parvalbumin-specific phage clones were isolated from the human ETH-2 phage display library by three rounds of biopanning either against cod parvalbumin or by sequential biopanning against cod (Gad m 1), carp (Cyp c 1) and rainbow trout (Onc m 1) parvalbumins. While biopanning against Gad m 1 resulted in the selection of clones specific exclusively for Gad m 1, the second approach resulted in the selection of clones cross-reacting with all three parvalbumins. Two clones, scFv-gco9 recognizing all three parvalbumins, and scFv-goo8 recognizing only Gad m 1 were expressed in the E. coli non-suppressor strain HB2151 and purified from the periplasm. scFv-gco9 showed highly selective binding to parvalbumins in processed fish products such as breaded cod sticks, fried carp and smoked trout in Western blots. In addition, the scFv-gco9-AP produced as alkaline phosphatase fusion protein, allowed a single-step detection of the parvalbumins. In competitive ELISA, scFv-gco9 was able to inhibit binding of IgE from fish allergic patients' sera to all three β-parvalbumins by up to 80%, whereas inhibition by scFv-goo8 was up to 20%. 1H/15N HSQC NMR analysis of the rGad m 1:scFv-gco9 complex showed participation of amino acid residues conserved among these three parvalbumins explaining their cross-reactivity on a molecular level. In this study, we have demonstrated an approach for the selection of cross-reactive parvalbumin-specific antibodies that can be used for allergen detection and for mapping of conserved epitopes.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0142625PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4651496PMC
June 2016

Pectate lyase pollen allergens: sensitization profiles and cross-reactivity pattern.

PLoS One 2015 15;10(5):e0120038. Epub 2015 May 15.

Christian Doppler Laboratory for Allergy Diagnosis and Therapy, Department of Molecular Biology, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria.

Background: Pollen released by allergenic members of the botanically unrelated families of Asteraceae and Cupressaceae represent potent elicitors of respiratory allergies in regions where these plants are present. As main allergen sources the Asteraceae species ragweed and mugwort, as well as the Cupressaceae species, cypress, mountain cedar, and Japanese cedar have been identified. The major allergens of all species belong to the pectate lyase enzyme family. Thus, we thought to investigate cross-reactivity pattern as well as sensitization capacities of pectate lyase pollen allergens in cohorts from distinct geographic regions.

Methods: The clinically relevant pectate lyase pollen allergens Amb a 1, Art v 6, Cup a 1, Jun a 1, and Cry j 1 were purified from aqueous pollen extracts, and patients' sensitization pattern of cohorts from Austria, Canada, Italy, and Japan were determined by IgE ELISA and cross-inhibition experiments. Moreover, we performed microarray experiments and established a mouse model of sensitization.

Results: In ELISA and ELISA inhibition experiments specific sensitization pattern were discovered for each geographic region, which reflected the natural allergen exposure of the patients. We found significant cross-reactivity within Asteraceae and Cupressaceae pectate lyase pollen allergens, which was however limited between the orders. Animal experiments showed that immunization with Asteraceae allergens mainly induced antibodies reactive within the order, the same was observed for the Cupressaceae allergens. Cross-reactivity between orders was minimal. Moreover, Amb a 1, Art v 6, and Cry j 1 showed in general higher immunogenicity.

Conclusion: We could cluster pectate lyase allergens in four categories, Amb a 1, Art v 6, Cup a 1/Jun a 1, and Cry j 1, respectively, at which each category has the potential to sensitize predisposed individuals. The sensitization pattern of different cohorts correlated with pollen exposure, which should be considered for future allergy diagnosis and therapy.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0120038PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4433284PMC
March 2016

Component-resolved IgE profiles in Austrian patients with a convincing history of peanut allergy.

Int Arch Allergy Immunol 2015 27;166(1):13-24. Epub 2015 Feb 27.

Departments of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Background: Peanut allergy develops after primary sensitization to peanut allergens and/or IgE cross-sensitization with homologous allergens from various plants. Therefore, heterogeneous patterns of sensitization to individual peanut allergens are observed in different countries. The aim of this study was to examine the IgE sensitization patterns of Austrian peanut-allergic patients.

Methods: Sera from 65 peanut-allergic patients and 20 peanut-tolerant atopics were obtained in four Austrian allergy clinics. Sensitization patterns against peanut allergens Ara h 1-3, 6, 8 and 9 were identified by ImmunoCAP and ImmunoCAP ISAC.

Results: Austrian peanut-allergic patients were sensitized to Ara h 2 and 6 (71%), followed by Ara h 1 (62%), Ara h 8 (45%), Ara h 3 (35%) and Ara h 9 (11%). All sera containing Ara h 2-specific IgE were also positive for Ara h 6, with Ara h 6-specific IgE levels significantly (p < 0.05) higher compared with Ara h 2. Twelve percent displayed IgE reactivity exclusively to Ara h 8. Peanut extract and Ara h 8 showed low diagnostic specificities of 25 and 10%, respectively. The other peanut allergens showed 100% specificity. Diagnostic sensitivities determined by ImmunoCAP ISAC and ImmunoCAP were highly similar for Ara h 2, 3 and 8.

Conclusions: The majority of symptomatic peanut-allergic patients are sensitized to Ara h 2 and Ara h 6. In peanut-symptomatic patients with additional birch pollen allergy, other peanut allergens, especially Ara h 8, should be tested when IgE reactivity to Ara h 2 is absent.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000371422DOI Listing
May 2015

Guideline on allergen-specific immunotherapy in IgE-mediated allergic diseases: S2k Guideline of the German Society for Allergology and Clinical Immunology (DGAKI), the Society for Pediatric Allergy and Environmental Medicine (GPA), the Medical Association of German Allergologists (AeDA), the Austrian Society for Allergy and Immunology (ÖGAI), the Swiss Society for Allergy and Immunology (SGAI), the German Society of Dermatology (DDG), the German Society of Oto- Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery (DGHNO-KHC), the German Society of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (DGKJ), the Society for Pediatric Pneumology (GPP), the German Respiratory Society (DGP), the German Association of ENT Surgeons (BV-HNO), the Professional Federation of Paediatricians and Youth Doctors (BVKJ), the Federal Association of Pulmonologists (BDP) and the German Dermatologists Association (BVDD).

Allergo J Int 2014;23(8):282-319

German Allergy and Asthma Association, Mönchengladbach, Germany.

The present guideline (S2k) on allergen-specific immunotherapy (AIT) was established by the German, Austrian and Swiss professional associations for allergy in consensus with the scientific specialist societies and professional associations in the fields of otolaryngology, dermatology and venereology, pediatric and adolescent medicine, pneumology as well as a German patient organization (German Allergy and Asthma Association; Deutscher Allergie- und Asthmabund, DAAB) according to the criteria of the Association of the Scientific Medical Societies in Germany (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Wissenschaftlichen Medizinischen Fachgesellschaften, AWMF). AIT is a therapy with disease-modifying effects. By administering allergen extracts, specific blocking antibodies, toler-ance-inducing cells and mediators are activated. These prevent further exacerbation of the allergen-triggered immune response, block the specific immune response and attenuate the inflammatory response in tissue. Products for SCIT or SLIT cannot be compared at present due to their heterogeneous composition, nor can allergen concentrations given by different manufacturers be compared meaningfully due to the varying methods used to measure their active ingredients. Non-modified allergens are used for SCIT in the form of aqueous or physically adsorbed (depot) extracts, as well as chemically modified allergens (allergoids) as depot extracts. Allergen extracts for SLIT are used in the form of aqueous solutions or tablets. The clinical efficacy of AIT is measured using various scores as primary and secondary study endpoints. The EMA stipulates combined symptom and medication scores as primary endpoint. A harmonization of clinical endpoints, e. g., by using the combined symptom and medication scores (CSMS) recommended by the EAACI, is desirable in the future in order to permit the comparison of results from different studies. The current CONSORT recommendations from the ARIA/GA2LEN group specify standards for the evaluation, presentation and publication of study results. According to the Therapy allergen ordinance (TAV), preparations containing common allergen sources (pollen from grasses, birch, alder, hazel, house dust mites, as well as bee and wasp venom) need a marketing authorization in Germany. During the marketing authorization process, these preparations are examined regarding quality, safety and efficacy. In the opinion of the authors, authorized allergen preparations with documented efficacy and safety, or preparations tradeable under the TAV for which efficacy and safety have already been documented in clinical trials meeting WAO or EMA standards, should be preferentially used. Individual formulations (NPP) enable the prescription of rare allergen sources (e.g., pollen from ash, mugwort or ambrosia, mold Alternaria, animal allergens) for specific immunotherapy. Mixing these allergens with TAV allergens is not permitted. Allergic rhinitis and its associated co-morbidities (e. g., bronchial asthma) generate substantial direct and indirect costs. Treatment options, in particular AIT, are therefore evaluated using cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analyses. From a long-term perspective, AIT is considered to be significantly more cost effective in allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma than pharmacotherapy, but is heavily dependent on patient compliance. Meta-analyses provide unequivocal evidence of the efficacy of SCIT and SLIT for certain allergen sources and age groups. Data from controlled studies differ in terms of scope, quality and dosing regimens and require product-specific evaluation. Therefore, evaluating individual preparations according to clearly defined criteria is recommended. A broad transfer of the efficacy of certain preparations to all preparations administered in the same way is not endorsed. The website of the German Society for Allergology and Clinical Immunology (www.dgaki.de/leitlinien/s2k-leitlinie-sit; DGAKI: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Allergologie und klinische Immunologie) provides tables with specific information on available products for AIT in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The tables contain the number of clinical studies per product in adults and children, the year of market authorization, underlying scoring systems, number of randomized and analyzed subjects and the method of evaluation (ITT, FAS, PP), separately given for grass pollen, birch pollen and house dust mite allergens, and the status of approval for the conduct of clinical studies with these products. Strong evidence of the efficacy of SCIT in pollen allergy-induced allergic rhinoconjunctivitis in adulthood is well-documented in numerous trials and, in childhood and adolescence, in a few trials. Efficacy in house dust mite allergy is documented by a number of controlled trials in adults and few controlled trials in children. Only a few controlled trials, independent of age, are available for mold allergy (in particular Alternaria). With regard to animal dander allergies (primarily to cat allergens), only small studies, some with methodological deficiencies are available. Only a moderate and inconsistent therapeutic effect in atopic dermatitis has been observed in the quite heterogeneous studies conducted to date. SCIT has been well investigated for individual preparations in controlled bronchial asthma as defined by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) 2007 and intermittent and mild persistent asthma (GINA 2005) and it is recommended as a treatment option, in addition to allergen avoidance and pharmacotherapy, provided there is a clear causal link between respiratory symptoms and the relevant allergen. The efficacy of SLIT in grass pollen-induced allergic rhinoconjunctivitis is extensively documented in adults and children, whilst its efficacy in tree pollen allergy has only been shown in adults. New controlled trials (some with high patient numbers) on house dust mite allergy provide evidence of efficacy of SLIT in adults. Compared with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, there are only few studies on the efficacy of SLIT in allergic asthma. In this context, newer studies show an efficacy for SLIT on asthma symptoms in the subgroup of grass pollen allergic children, adolescents and adults with asthma and efficacy in primary house dust mite allergy-induced asthma in adolescents aged from 14 years and in adults. Aspects of secondary prevention, in particular the reduction of new sensitizations and reduced asthma risk, are important rationales for choosing to initiate treatment early in childhood and adolescence. In this context, those products for which the appropriate effects have been demonstrated should be considered. SCIT or SLIT with pollen or mite allergens can be performed in patients with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis using allergen extracts that have been proven to be effective in at least one double-blind placebo-controlled (DBPC) study. At present, clinical trials are underway for the indication in asthma due to house dust mite allergy, some of the results of which have already been published, whilst others are still awaited (see the DGAKI table "Approved/potentially completed studies" via www.dgaki.de/Leitlinien/s2k-Leitlinie-sit (according to www.clinicaltrialsregister.eu)). When establishing the indication for AIT, factors that favour clinical efficacy should be taken into consideration. Differences between SCIT and SLIT are to be considered primarily in terms of contraindications. In individual cases, AIT may be justifiably indicated despite the presence of contraindications. SCIT injections and the initiation of SLIT are performed by a physician experienced in this type of treatment and who is able to administer emergency treatment in the case of an allergic reaction. Patients must be fully informed about the procedure and risks of possible adverse events, and the details of this process must be documented (see "Treatment information sheet"; available as a handout via www.dgaki.de/Leitlinien/s2k-Leitlinie-sit). Treatment should be performed according to the manufacturer's product information leaflet. In cases where AIT is to be performed or continued by a different physician to the one who established the indication, close cooperation is required in order to ensure that treatment is implemented consistently and at low risk. In general, it is recommended that SCIT and SLIT should only be performed using preparations for which adequate proof of efficacy is available from clinical trials. Treatment adherence among AIT patients is lower than assumed by physicians, irrespective of the form of administration. Clearly, adherence is of vital importance for treatment success. Improving AIT adherence is one of the most important future goals, in order to ensure efficacy of the therapy. Severe, potentially life-threatening systemic reactions during SCIT are possible, but - providing all safety measures are adhered to - these events are very rare. Most adverse events are mild to moderate and can be treated well. Dose-dependent adverse local reactions occur frequently in the mouth and throat in SLIT. Systemic reactions have been described in SLIT, but are seen far less often than with SCIT. In terms of anaphylaxis and other severe systemic reactions, SLIT has a better safety profile than SCIT. The risk and effects of adverse systemic reactions in the setting of AIT can be effectively reduced by training of personnel, adhering to safety standards and prompt use of emergency measures, including early administration of i. m. epinephrine. Details on the acute management of anaphylactic reactions can be found in the current S2 guideline on anaphylaxis issued by the AWMF (S2-AWMF-LL Registry Number 061-025). AIT is undergoing some innovative developments in many areas (e. g., allergen characterization, new administration routes, adjuvants, faster and safer dose escalation protocols), some of which are already being investigated in clinical trials. Pfaar O, Bachert C, Bufe A, Buhl R, Ebner C, Eng P, Friedrichs F, Fuchs T, Hamelmann E, Hartwig-Bade D, Hering T, Huttegger I, Jung K, Klimek L, Kopp MV, Merk H, Rabe U, Saloga J, Schmid-Grendelmeier P, Schuster A, Schwerk N, Sitter H, Umpfenbach U, Wedi B, Wöhrl S, Worm M, Kleine-Tebbe J. Guideline on allergen-specific immunotherapy in IgE-mediated allergic diseases - S2k Guideline of the German Society for Allergology and Clinical Immunology (DGAKI), the Society for Pediatric Allergy and Environmental Medicine (GPA), the Medical Association of German Allergologists (AeDA), the Austrian Society for Allergy and Immunology (ÖGAI), the Swiss Society for Allergy and Immunology (SGAI), the German Society of Dermatology (DDG), the German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery (DGHNO-KHC), the German Society of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (DGKJ), the Society for Pediatric Pneumology (GPP), the German Respiratory Society (DGP), the German Association of ENT Surgeons (BV-HNO), the Professional Federation of Paediatricians and Youth Doctors (BVKJ), the Federal Association of Pulmonologists (BDP) and the German Dermatologists Association (BVDD). Allergo J Int 2014;23:282-319.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40629-014-0032-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4479478PMC
January 2014

Specific IgE reactivity to Tri a 36 in children with wheat food allergy.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2014 Feb 12;133(2):585-7. Epub 2013 Dec 12.

Division of Immunopathology, Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, Center of Pathophysiology, Infectiology & Immunology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna General Hospital, Vienna, Austria; Christian Doppler Laboratory for Allergy Research, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2013.10.044DOI Listing
February 2014

Vig r 6, the cytokinin-specific binding protein from mung bean (Vigna radiata) sprouts, cross-reacts with Bet v 1-related allergens and binds IgE from birch pollen allergic patients' sera.

Mol Nutr Food Res 2014 Mar 1;58(3):625-34. Epub 2013 Sep 1.

Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, Medical University of Vienna, Austria.

Scope: Birch pollen associated allergy to mung bean sprouts is caused by cross-reactivity between the birch pollen allergen Bet v 1 and the mung bean allergen Vig r 1. We aimed to determine the allergenicity of the cytokinin-specific binding protein from mung bean (Vig r 6), another allergen related to Bet v 1 with only 31% sequence identity.

Methods And Results: Bet v 1, Gly m 4, Vig r 1, and Vig r 6 were produced in Escherichia coli. In an ELISA, 73 and 32% of Bet v 1-sensitized birch-allergic patients' sera (n = 60) showed IgE binding to Vig r 1 and Vig r 6, respectively. Of 19 patients who reported allergic reactions or had positive prick-to-prick tests to mung bean sprouts, 79% showed IgE binding to Vig r 1 and 63% showed IgE binding to Vig r 6. Bet v 1 completely inhibited IgE binding to both mung bean allergens. Vig r 6 showed partial cross-reactivity with Vig r 1 and activated basophils sensitized with mung bean allergic patients' sera.

Conclusion: We demonstrated IgE cross-reactivity despite low sequence identity between Vig r 6 and other Bet v 1-related allergens. Thus, IgE binding to Vig r 6 may contribute to birch pollinosis-associated mung bean sprout allergy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mnfr.201300153DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4135424PMC
March 2014

Allergenic relevance of nonspecific lipid transfer proteins 2: Identification and characterization of Api g 6 from celery tuber as representative of a novel IgE-binding protein family.

Mol Nutr Food Res 2013 Nov 5;57(11):2061-70. Epub 2013 Aug 5.

Christian Doppler Laboratory for Allergy Diagnosis and Therapy, Department of Molecular Biology, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria.

Scope: Apium graveolens represents a relevant food allergen source linked with severe systemic reactions. We sought to identify an IgE-binding nonspecific lipid transfer protein (nsLTP) in celery tuber.

Methods And Results: A low molecular weight protein exclusively present in celery tuber was purified and designated Api g 6. The entire protein sequence was obtained by MS and classified as member of the nsLTP2 family. Api g 6 is monomeric in solution with a molecular mass of 6936 Da. The alpha-helical disulfide bond-stabilized structure confers tremendous thermal stability (Tm > 90°C) and high resistance to gastrointestinal digestion. Endolysosomal degradation demonstrated low susceptibility and the presence of a dominant peptide cluster at the C-terminus. Thirty-eight percent of A. graveolens allergic patients demonstrated IgE reactivity to purified natural Api g 6 in ELISA and heat treatment did only partially reduce its allergenic activity. No correlation in IgE binding and limited cross-reactivity was observed with Api g 2 and Art v 3, nsLTP1 from celery stalks and mugwort pollen.

Conclusion: Api g 6, a novel nsLTP2 from celery tuber represents the first well-characterized allergen in this protein family. Despite similar structural and physicochemical features as nsLTP1, immunological properties of Api g 6 are distinct which warrants its inclusion in molecule-based diagnosis of A. graveolens allergy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mnfr.201300085DOI Listing
November 2013

Recombinant Mal d 1 is a reliable diagnostic tool for birch pollen allergen-associated apple allergy.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2013 Oct 28;132(4):1008-10. Epub 2013 Jun 28.

Christian Doppler Laboratory for Immunomodulation, Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2013.05.030DOI Listing
October 2013

α-Purothionin, a new wheat allergen associated with severe allergy.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2013 Oct 28;132(4):1000-3.e1-4. Epub 2013 Jun 28.

Division of Immunopathology, Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, Center for Pathophysiology, Infectiology and Immunology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna General Hospital, Austria; Christian Doppler Laboratory for the Development of Allergen Chips, Medical University of Vienna, Austria.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2013.05.016DOI Listing
October 2013

Oral exposure to Mal d 1 affects the immune response in patients with birch pollen allergy.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2013 Jan 24;131(1):94-102. Epub 2012 Aug 24.

Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Background: Antibodies and T cells specific for the major birch pollen allergen Bet v 1 cross-react with structurally related food allergens, such as Mal d 1 in apple.

Objective: We sought to evaluate the effects of oral uptake of Mal d 1 on the allergen-specific immune response in patients with birch pollen allergy.

Methods: Patients received 50 μg of rBet v 1 sublingually on 2 consecutive days outside of the birch pollen season. One year later, equal amounts of rMal d 1 were administered. Blood samples were collected before and after oral exposure, as well as before and after the intermediate birch pollen season. Allergen-specific IgE levels were determined by using ImmunoCAP. Proliferation of allergen-stimulated PBMCs was assessed, as well as the expression of IL-5, IL-13, IL-10, IFN-γ, and forkhead box protein 3 (Foxp3) in isolated T cells (real-time PCR). Allergen-specific T-cell lines were analyzed for epitope recognition.

Results: Orally administered Bet v 1 transiently reduced Bet v 1-specific serum IgE levels, as well as Bet v 1- and Mal d 1-induced T-cell proliferation, and enhanced the expression of IL-5, IL-10, and Foxp3. Orally applied Mal d 1 significantly decreased Bet v 1- and Mal d 1-specific IgE levels and induced IL-5 and IL-10 but no Foxp3 expression. In contrast to Bet v 1, Mal d 1 triggered IFN-γ production and T cells with a different epitope repertoire. Inhalation of birch pollen significantly enhanced allergen-specific IgE levels, T-cell proliferation, and IL-5, IL-10, IL-13, and Foxp3 expression.

Conclusion: Two sublingual administrations of 50 μg of Mal d 1 were well tolerated and induced transient immune responses seen during peripheral tolerance development. Thus recombinant Mal d 1 might be suitable and relevant for sublingual treatment of birch pollen-related apple allergy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2012.06.039DOI Listing
January 2013

Molecular and immunological characterization of Tri a 36, a low molecular weight glutenin, as a novel major wheat food allergen.

J Immunol 2012 Sep 17;189(6):3018-25. Epub 2012 Aug 17.

Division of Immunopathology, Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, Center of Pathophysiology, Infectiology, and Immunology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna General Hospital, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

Wheat is an essential element in our nutrition but one of the most important food allergen sources. Wheat allergic patients often suffer from severe gastrointestinal and systemic allergic reactions after wheat ingestion. In this study, we report the molecular and immunological characterization of a new major wheat food allergen, Tri a 36. The cDNA coding for a C-terminal fragment of Tri a 36 was isolated by screening a wheat seed cDNA expression library with serum IgE from wheat food-allergic patients. Tri a 36 is a 369-aa protein with a hydrophobic 25-aa N-terminal leader peptide. According to sequence comparison it belongs to the low m.w. glutenin subunits, which can be found in a variety of cereals. The mature allergen contains an N-terminal domain, a repetitive domain that is rich in glutamine and proline residues, and three C-terminal domains with eight cysteine residues contributing to intra- and intermolecular disulfide bonds. Recombinant Tri a 36 was expressed in Escherichia coli and purified as soluble protein. It reacted with IgE Abs of ∼80% of wheat food-allergic patients, showed IgE cross-reactivity with related allergens in rye, barley, oat, spelt, and rice, and induced specific and dose-dependent basophil activation. Even after extensive in vitro gastric and duodenal digestion, Tri a 36 released distinct IgE-reactive fragments and was highly resistant against boiling. Thus, recombinant Tri a 36 is a major wheat food allergen that can be used for the molecular diagnosis of, and for the development of specific immunotherapy strategies against, wheat food allergy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1200438DOI Listing
September 2012

Association of HLA-DR1 with the allergic response to the major mugwort pollen allergen: molecular background.

BMC Immunol 2012 Aug 8;13:43. Epub 2012 Aug 8.

Department for Biomedical Computersimulation and Bioinformatics, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Background: Mugwort pollen allergens represent the main cause of pollinosis in late summer. The major allergen, Art v 1, contains only one single immunodominant, solely HLA-DR-restricted T cell epitope (Art v 125-36). The frequency of HLA-DRB1*01 is highly increased in mugwort-allergic individuals and HLA-DR1 serves as restriction element for Art v 125-36. However, Art v 125-36 also binds to HLA-DR4 with high affinity and DR1-restricted Art v 125-36 -specific T cell receptors can be activated by HLA-DR4 molecules. To understand the predominance of HLA-DR1 in mugwort allergy in spite of the degeneracy in HLA/peptide-binding and TCR-recognition, we investigated the molecular background of Art v 125-36 /MHC/TCR interactions in the context of HLA-DR1 compared to -DR4.

Results: The majority of Art v 125-36 -specific T cell lines and clones from HLA-DR1 carrying, mugwort pollen-allergic donors reacted to synthetic and naturally processed Art v 1-peptides when presented by HLA-DR1 or HLA-DR4 expressing antigen presenting cells. However, at limiting peptide concentrations DR1 was more effective in T cell stimulation. In addition, the minimal epitope for 50% of Art v 125-36 -specific T cells was shorter for DR1 than for DR4. In vitro binding assays of Art v 125-36 mutant peptides to isolated DR1- and DR4-molecules indicated similar binding capacities and use of the same register. In silico simulation of Art v 125-36 binding to HLA-DR1 and -DR4 suggested similar binding of the central part of the peptide to either molecule, but a higher flexibility of the N- and C-terminal amino acids and detachment at the C-terminus in HLA-DR1.

Conclusions: The predominance of HLA-DR1 in the response to Art v 125-36 may be explained by subtle conformation changes of the peptide bound to DR1 compared to DR4. Computer simulation supported our experimental data by demonstrating differences in peptide mobility within the HLA-DR complex that may influence TCR-binding. We suggest that the minor differences observed in vitro may be more relevant in the microenvironment in vivo, so that only presentation by HLA-DR1, but not -DR4 permits successful T cell activation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2172-13-43DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3522052PMC
August 2012

Humoral and cellular cross-reactivity between Amb a 1, the major ragweed pollen allergen, and its mugwort homolog Art v 6.

J Immunol 2012 Feb 28;188(3):1559-67. Epub 2011 Dec 28.

Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, Center for Pathophysiology, Infectiology and Immunology, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

Ragweed and mugwort are closely related weeds that represent the major cause of pollen allergy in late summer. Concomitant sensitization and clinical cross-reactivity frequently occur in subjects who are coexposed to both pollen species, and have implications for diagnosis and specific immunotherapy. Molecules involved in this cross-reactivity might be Amb a 1, the major ragweed pollen allergen, and Art v 6, a highly homologous allergen from mugwort. Therefore, we investigated the IgE and T cell response to Art v 6 of 60 weed pollen-allergic patients and assessed its immunological cross-reactivity with Amb a 1. Results of ELISA inhibition experiments suggested that both allergens are largely cross-reactive, but Amb a 1 possesses more IgE epitopes than Art v 6. In patients with IgE to both allergens, Amb a 1-induced T cell lines and clones responded weakly to Art v 6. Moreover, Art v 6-induced T cell lines responded stronger to Amb a 1. T cell epitope mapping of Art v 6 revealed that it contains only a few cross-reactive epitopes, which is opposed to the multiple T cell-activating regions present in Amb a 1. In summary, Amb a 1 can elicit more diverse allergen-specific IgE and T cell responses than Art v 6 and dominates the cross-reactivity with its homolog. Nevertheless, Art v 6 can act as a primary sensitizing allergen in areas with high mugwort pollen exposure, and consequently may facilitate sensitization to Amb a 1 by epitope cross-recognition of T and B cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1102445DOI Listing
February 2012

Birch pollen-related food allergy: clinical aspects and the role of allergen-specific IgE and IgG4 antibodies.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2011 Mar 20;127(3):616-22.e1. Epub 2011 Jan 20.

Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Background: Patients with birch pollen allergy often develop allergic reactions to plant foods.

Objective: To evaluate the prevalence, main symptoms, and triggers of birch pollen-related food allergy and the role of food-specific IgG(4) antibodies in food tolerance.

Methods: Food-induced symptoms were evaluated in 225 individuals with birch pollen allergy by using a standardized questionnaire. IgE and IgG(4) levels specific for the major birch pollen allergen Bet v 1 and birch profilin Bet v 2 and the Bet v 1 homologs in apple (Mal d 1) and hazelnut (Cor a 1) were quantified by ImmunoCAP. Mock-treated and IgG-depleted sera from patients tolerating hazelnuts in food challenges were compared for their inhibitory activity for binding of Cor a 1-IgE complexes to B cells.

Results: In total, 73% of the study population experienced food allergy, which was perennial in 86% of the affected individuals. The oral allergy syndrome was the main clinical manifestation. However, more than 58% of the patients also experienced food-induced rhinoconjunctivitis. Apples and hazelnuts were identified as the most frequent triggers. Food allergy correlated with IgE reactivity to Bet v 1 but not to Bet v 2. Mal d 1-specific and Cor a 1-specific IgG(4)/IgE ratios were significantly higher in food-tolerant individuals than individuals with food allergy. Sera from IgG(4)-positive food-tolerant patients possessed IgG-dependent IgE-inhibitory activity.

Conclusion: Birch pollen-related food allergy is highly prevalent and often perennial. High food allergen-specific IgG(4)/IgE ratios seem associated with food tolerance, potentially because specific IgG(4) blocks IgE binding to food allergens. Thus, the presence of food allergen-specific IgG(4) antibodies is no diagnostic marker for birch pollen-related food allergy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2010.10.027DOI Listing
March 2011

Latex-allergic patients sensitized to the major allergen hevein and hevein-like domains of class I chitinases show no increased frequency of latex-associated plant food allergy.

Mol Immunol 2011 Jan 21;48(4):600-9. Epub 2010 Nov 21.

Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, Center for Pathophysiology, Infectiology and Immunology, Medical University of Vienna, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

Allergies to certain fruits such as banana, avocado, chestnut and kiwi are described in 30-70% of latex-allergic patients. This association is attributed to the cross-reactivity between the major latex allergen hevein and hevein-like domains (HLDs) from fruit class I chitinases. We aimed to assess the extent of cross-reactivity between hevein and HLDs using sera from latex-allergic patients with and without plant food allergy. Hevein and HLDs of latex, banana, and avocado chitinases were expressed in Escherichia coli as fusion proteins with the maltose-binding protein and purified by affinity chromatography. IgE binding to these proteins was studied in sera from 59 latex-allergic patients and 20 banana-allergic patients without latex allergy by ELISA and ELISA inhibition. Additionally, 16,408 allergic patients' sera were tested for IgE binding to hevein, latex chitinase, and wheat germ agglutinin using an allergen microarray. Hevein-specific IgE was detected in 34/59 (58%) latex-allergic patients' sera. HLDs of latex, banana, and avocado chitinases were recognized by 21 (36%), 20 (34%), and 9 (15%) sera, respectively. In contrast, only one of 20 banana-allergic patients without latex allergy was sensitized to chitinase HLDs. In most tested latex-allergic patients' sera, IgE binding to hevein was only partially reduced by preincubation with HLDs. Among hevein-sensitized, latex-allergic patients, the percentage of plant food allergy (15/34 = 44%) was equal to latex-allergic patients without hevein sensitization (11/25 = 44%). In the general allergic population, 230 of 16,408 sera (1.4%) reacted to hevein and/or a hevein-like allergen. Of these, 128 sera showed an isolated sensitization to hevein, whereas only 17 bound to latex chitinase or wheat germ agglutinin without hevein sensitization. In conclusion, the IgE response to HLDs is elicited by hevein as sensitizing allergen in most cases. Despite considerable cross-reactivity between these allergens, no correlation between latex-associated plant food allergy and sensitization to hevein or HLDs was found.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molimm.2010.10.019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3025318PMC
January 2011

Visualization of clustered IgE epitopes on alpha-lactalbumin.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2010 Jun 13;125(6):1279-1285.e9. Epub 2010 May 13.

Department of Medical and Chemical Laboratory Diagnostics, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Background: alpha-Lactalbumin (alpha-La) is a major cow's milk (CM) allergen responsible for allergic reactions in infants.

Objective: We performed molecular, structural, and immunologic characterization of alpha-La.

Methods: Recombinant alpha-lactalbumin (ralpha-La) was expressed in Escherichia coli, purified to homogeneity, and characterized by means of mass spectrometry and circular dichroism, and its allergenic activity was studied by using microarray technology, as well as in a basophil histamine release assay. IgE epitope mapping was performed with synthetic peptides.

Results: According to circular dichroism analysis, ralpha-La represented a folded protein with a high thermal stability and refolding capacity. ralpha-La reacted with IgE antibodies from 57.6% of patients with CM allergy (n = 66) and induced the strongest basophil degranulation with sera from patients with CM allergy who had exhibited gastrointestinal symptoms or severe systemic reactions on CM exposure. ralpha-La contained sequential and conformational IgE epitopes. Superposition of IgE-reactive peptides onto the 3-dimensional structure of alpha-La revealed a close vicinity of the N- and C-terminal peptides within a surface-exposed patch.

Conclusions: ralpha-La can be used for the diagnosis of patients with severe allergic reactions to CM and serves as a paradigmatic tool for the development of therapeutic strategies for CM allergy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2010.03.007DOI Listing
June 2010

The influence of recombinant production on the immunologic behavior of birch pollen isoallergens.

PLoS One 2009 Dec 24;4(12):e8457. Epub 2009 Dec 24.

Christian Doppler Laboratory for Allergy Diagnosis and Therapy, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria.

Background: Allergic reactions towards the birch major pollen allergen Bet v 1 are among the most common causes of spring pollinosis in the temperate climate zone of the Northern hemisphere. Natural Bet v 1 is composed of a complex mixture of different isoforms. Detailed analysis of recombinant Bet v 1 isoforms revealed striking differences in immunologic as well as allergenic properties of the molecules, leading to a classification of Bet v 1 isoforms into high, medium, and low IgE binding proteins. Especially low IgE binding Bet v 1 isoforms have been described as ideal candidates for desensitizing allergic patients with allergen specific immunotherapy (SIT). Since diagnosis and therapy of allergic diseases are highly dependent on recombinant proteins, continuous improvement of protein production is an absolute necessity.

Methodology: Therefore, two different methods for recombinant production of a low IgE binding Bet v 1 isoform were applied; one based on published protocols, the other by implementing latest innovations in protein production. Both batches of Bet v 1.0401 were extensively characterized by an array of physicochemical as well as immunological methods to compare protein primary structure, purity, quantity, folding, aggregation state, thermal stability, and antibody binding capacity.

Conclusion: The experiments demonstrated that IgE antibody binding properties of recombinant isoallergens can be significantly influenced by the production method directly affecting possible clinical applications of the molecules.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0008457PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2795169PMC
December 2009

Targeting the cysteine-stabilized fold of Art v 1 for immunotherapy of Artemisia pollen allergy.

Mol Immunol 2010 Mar;47(6):1292-8

Christian Doppler Laboratory for Allergy Diagnosis and Therapy, Department of Molecular Biology, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria.

Plants of the genus Artemisia domestic in Northern and Central Europe, USA and parts of Asia are a major cause of allergic symptoms from late summer to autumn. Art v 1, the major mugwort pollen allergen appears as two-domain glycoprotein, consisting of an N-terminal defensin-like and a proline/hydroxyproline-rich C-terminal part. Patients sensitized to Art v 1 commonly display IgE antibodies against the cysteine-stabilized defensin fold. Site-directed mutagenesis of eight cysteines was used to disrupt disulfide bonds to generate molecules with altered IgE-binding capacity. Engineered constructs were expressed in E. coli and recombinant proteins were tested for their allergenic and T cell reactivity as well as for their physicochemical characteristics. Three cysteine variants (C22S, C47S, and C49S) exhibited extremely low IgE-binding activity in immunoblot and ELISA using sera from Art v 1-allergic patients. Mediator release assays using rat basophil leukemia cells showed that these variants displayed a 1x10(5)-fold reduced allergenic potency as compared to wild-type protein. All variants were able to activate allergen-specific T cells in PBMC, as well as Art v 1-specific T cell lines and clones. Variant C49S displayed an increased hydrophobic surface potential which correlated with an advanced activation of allergen-specific T cells. The low allergenicity and high immunogenic activity of Art v 1 variant C49S renders the molecule an attractive candidate for hypoallergen-based immunotherapy of Artemisia pollen allergy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molimm.2009.11.029DOI Listing
March 2010

Alternaria alternata TCTP, a novel cross-reactive ascomycete allergen.

Mol Immunol 2009 Oct 15;46(16):3476-87. Epub 2009 Aug 15.

Department of Cell Biology, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria.

Defining more comprehensively the allergen repertoire of the ascomycete Alternaria alternata is undoubtedly of immense medical significance since this mold represents one of the most important, worldwide occurring fungal species responsible for IgE-mediated hypersensitivity reactions ranging from rhinitis and ocular symptoms to severe involvement of the lower respiratory tract including asthma with its life-threatening complications. Performing a hybridization screening of an excised A. alternata cDNA library with a radioactively labeled Cladosporium herbarum TCTP probe, we were able to identify, clone and purify the respective A. alternata homologue of TCTP which again represents a multifunctional protein that has been evolutionarily conserved from unicellular eukaryotes like yeasts to humans and appears, summarizing current literature, to be involved in housekeeping processes such as cell growth as well as cell-cycle progression, the protection of cells against various stress conditions including for instance apoptosis, and in higher organisms even in the allergic response. In this context, our present study characterizes recombinant A. alternata TCTP as a novel minor allergen candidate that displays a prevalence of IgE reactivity of approximately 4% and interestingly shares common, cross-reactive IgE epitopes with its C. herbarum and human counterparts as determined via Western blotting and in vitro inhibition approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molimm.2009.07.024DOI Listing
October 2009

A 246-km continuous running race causes significant changes in bone metabolism.

Bone 2009 Dec 7;45(6):1079-83. Epub 2009 Aug 7.

Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, Austria.

Background: Regular physical exercise exerts a favorable effect on the skeleton. However, excessive physical exercise may have detrimental effects. A low bone mineral density (BMD) has been registered in highly trained runners. The aim of the present study was to evaluate potential effects of the Spartathlon, an annual ultramarathon race of 246 km, on bone metabolism.

Methods: Venous blood samples were taken before and within 15 min after the end of the race as well as three days after the start of the race. The following variables of bone metabolism were studied: osteocalcin (Oc), cross-linked-C-telopeptide of type I collagen (CTX), osteoprotegerin (OPG), and its ligand, receptor activator of nuclear factor kappaB ligand (RANKL).

Results: Blood samples were taken from 18 runners (16 men and 2 women) at the three time points. The median time taken by the runners to complete the race was 32 h and 52 min. Serum levels of CTX were significantly increased immediately after the race as well as three days after the start of the race compared with the time prior to the race. Oc was transiently suppressed after the race. Serum levels of RANKL and OPG were increased three days after the start of the race compared to the time before the start of the race.

Conclusions: This study showed that an ultra-distance run of nearly 250 km induced changes in RANK/RANKL/OPG interaction, which suggests a transient uncoupling of bone metabolism, increased bone resorption, and suppressed bone formation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bone.2009.07.088DOI Listing
December 2009

Structural and immunological characterization of the N-glycans from the major yellow jacket allergen Ves v 2: the N-glycan structures are needed for the human antibody recognition.

Mol Immunol 2009 Jun 16;46(10):2014-21. Epub 2009 Apr 16.

Vaccine Research & Discovery, ALK-Abelló, Boge Allé 6-8, 2970 Horsholm, Denmark.

Yellow jacket (Vespula vulgaris) hyaluronidase (Ves v 2) is a glycoprotein and a mixture of two isoallergens, Ves v 2.01 and Ves v 2.02. Wasp and bee sensitized individuals frequently show IgE antibodies that in vitro recognize common carbohydrate structures across the hymenoptera species. The aim of the study was to characterize the glycosylation patterns in Ves v 2 isoallergens and to assess their immunological properties regarding antibody binding and T cell activation. The glycosylation sites and the carbohydrate structures were verified by use of tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). The immunological characterization of the N-glycan structures was assessed by antibody binding, T cell proliferation and T cell epitope assays comparing native (n) and non-glycosylated recombinant (r) Ves v 2. Analyses of the Ves v 2 glycopeptides revealed that glycan attachments were found for residues 79, 99 and 127 of Ves v 2.01, and residues 66 and 81 of Ves v 2.02. Structural analysis of the glycopeptides showed that the majority of the N-glycans contained at least one alpha1,3-fucose and/or alpha1,6-fucose residues in a structure. Interestingly, serum IgE antibodies from vespid allergic patients recognized nVes v 2 but not rVes v 2. Non-glycosylated rVes v 2, however, induced T cell and cytokine responses comparable to glycosylated nVes v 2. The present study shows that N-glycan structures are needed for the antibody recognition but not for the T cell reactivity of Ves v 2 in vitro. The occurrences of carbohydrate-specific antibodies against nVes v 2, however, suggest that non-mammalian glycan structures as in nVes v 2 may provide a link between T cells and other effector cells in allergic responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molimm.2009.03.005DOI Listing
June 2009

Role of the polypeptide backbone and post-translational modifications in cross-reactivity of Art v 1, the major mugwort pollen allergen.

Biol Chem 2009 May-Jun;390(5-6):445-51

Christian Doppler Laboratory for Allergy Diagnosis and Therapy, Department of Molecular Biology, University of Salzburg, Hellbrunnerstrasse 34, A-5020 Salzburg, Austria.

Artemisia vulgaris (mugwort) is one of the main causes of late summer pollinosis in Europe, with >95% of patients sensitized to the glycoallergen Art v 1. Despite the importance of this allergen, little is known about its cross-reactive behavior. Here we investigated the occurrence of conserved Art v 1 antigenic determinants in sources known to display clinically relevant cross-reactivity with mugwort pollen. For this purpose, monoclonal antibodies specific for a cysteine-stabilized epitope of the Art v 1 defensin domain and for carbohydrates attached to the proline domain were produced by hybridoma and phage display technologies. Using polyclonal Art v 1-specific rabbit sera and antibodies against both the Art v 1 carbohydrate and polypeptide moieties, we could identify cross-reactive structures in pollen from botanically related Asteraceae weeds (Artemisia absinthium, Helianthus annuus and Ambrosia sp.). Homologous allergens were also recognized by IgE from mugwort-sensitized patients and the reactivity could be decreased by serum pre-incubation with natural and recombinant Art v 1. As no cross-reactive structures could be found in foods associated with mugwort pollinosis, we conclude that Art v 1 is poorly involved in mugwort cross-reactivity to food allergens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/BC.2009.063DOI Listing
July 2009
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