Dominating IgE-binding epitope of Bet v 1, the major allergen of birch pollen, characterized by X-ray crystallography and site-directed mutagenesis

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Michael D Spangfort, Osman Mirza, Henrik Ipsen, R J Joost Van Neerven, Michael Gajhede, Jørgen Larsen

Specific allergy vaccination is an efficient treatment for allergic disease; however, the development of safer vaccines would enable a more general use of the treatment. Determination of molecular structures of allergens and allergen-Ab complexes facilitates epitope mapping and enables a rational approach to the engineering of allergen molecules with reduced IgE binding. In this study, we describe the identification and modification of a human IgE-binding epitope based on the crystal structure of Bet v 1 in complex with the BV16 Fab' fragment. The epitope occupies approximately 10% of the molecular surface area of Bet v 1 and is clearly conformational. A synthetic peptide representing a sequential motif in the epitope (11 of 16 residues) did not inhibit the binding of mAb BV16 to Bet v 1, illustrating limitations in the use of peptides for B cell epitope characterization. The single amino acid substitution, Glu(45)-Ser, was introduced in the epitope and completely abolished the binding of mAb BV16 to the Bet v 1 mutant within a concentration range 1000-fold higher than wild type. The mutant also showed up to 50% reduction in the binding of human polyclonal IgE, demonstrating that glutamic acid 45 is a critical amino acid also in a major human IgE-binding epitope. By solving the three-dimensional crystal structure of the Bet v 1 Glu(45)-Ser mutant, it was shown that the change in immunochemical activity is directly related to the Glu(45)-Ser substitution and not to long-range structural alterations or collapse of the Bet v 1 mutant tertiary structure.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Immunology
Volume171
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)3084-90
Number of pages7
ISSN0022-1767
Publication statusPublished - 2003

    Research areas

  • Allergens, Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Antigens, Plant, Betula, Binding Sites, Antibody, Binding, Competitive, Crystallography, X-Ray, Glutamic Acid, Immunodominant Epitopes, Immunoglobulin E, Mice, Models, Molecular, Molecular Sequence Data, Mutagenesis, Site-Directed, Peptide Fragments, Plant Proteins, Pollen, Serine, Surface Properties

ID: 40767163