Background:Penicillium citrinum and Aspergillus fumigatus are prevalent indoor airborne fungal species that have been implicated in human respiratory allergic disorders. It is important to understand the allergenic profile of these fungal species. The purpose of the present study is to characterize a newly identified enolase allergen from P. citrinum and A. fumigatus. Methods: Fungal proteins were separated by two-dimensional (2D) gel electrophoresis and blotted onto polyvinylidene difluoride membranes. Protein spots that reacted with IgE antibodies in serum samples from asthmatic patients were identified and the N-terminal amino acid sequences were determined by Edman degradation. The peptide sequences obtained were utilized in cloning the cDNA of the allergen genes by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and the 5′- and 3′-rapid amplification cDNA end reactions. Results: Our results from 2D immunoblotting identified a 47-kD IgE-reactive component in the extracts of P. citrinum and A. fumigatus. The N-terminal amino acid sequences of the 47-kD proteins are homologous to those of fungal enolases. The corresponding enolase cDNA from P. citrinum contains 1,552 bp and encodes a protein of 438 residues. In A. fumigatus, the isolated enolase cDNA has 1,649 bp and contains a 438-amino acid open reading frame. The deduced amino acid sequences of these two enolases have 94% identity. These enolases from P. citrinum and A. fumigatus were expressed in Escherichia coli as a His-tagged protein and designated as rPen c 22 and rAsp f 22, respectively. Sera from 7 (30%) of the 23 Penicillium-sensitized asthmatic patients showed IgE binding to the 47-kD P. citrinum component (Pen c 22) and rPen c 22. In addition, six of seven Pen c 22-positive serum samples have IgE immunoblot reactivity to the 47-kD A. fumigatus component (Asp f 22) and rAsp f 22. A polyclonal rabbit antiserum generated against the N-terminal peptide of Pen c 22 can react with Pen c 22, rPen c 22, Asp f 22 and rAsp f 22. In addition, the presence of IgE cross-reactivity between rPen c 22 and rAsp f 22 and between enolases from A. fumigatus and Alternaria alternata was also detected by immunoblot inhibition. Conclusions: These results demonstrated that a novel enolase allergen from P. citrinum (Pen c 22) and A. fumigatus (Asp f 22) was identified. In addition, IgE cross-reactivity between enolase allergens from A. fumigatus and P. citrinum and between enolases from A. fumigatus and A. alternata was also detected. Results obtained provide more information on fungal enolase allergens.
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