Allergy and Asthma in Modern Society: A Scientific Approach

Editor(s): Crameri R. (Davos) 
Table of Contents
Vol. 91, No. , 2006
Section title: Paper
Crameri R (ed): Allergy and Asthma in Modern Society: A Scientific Approach. Chem Immunol Allergy. Basel, Karger, 2006, vol 91, pp 134-146

Structural Features of Allergenic Molecules

Aalberse R.
Sanquin Research at CLB and Karl Landsteiner Laboratory, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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In this paper the relation between protein allergenicity (the capacity to induce IgE antibody production or the capacity to activate mast cells sensitized with IgE antibodies induced by a cross-reactive allergen) and protein structure is discussed. While cross-reactivity is to a large degree predictable from primary sequence comparisons, the IgE-inducing capacity is mostly determined by factors other than the primary sequence. Two routes to IgE are discussed: (1) the atopic route (used by allergens from pollen and mites) in which a direct switch from μ to ε is common and (2) the ‘modified Th2’ route (used by allergens from pets) in which the class switch to IgE is often preceded by a switch to IgG4. According to this working hypothesis, the choice between these two routes is determined at the level of the germinal center activity.

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