Analysis of glutathione S-transferase allergen cross-reactivity in a North American population: Relevance for molecular diagnosis

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It is not clear whether cross-reactivity or cosensitization to glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) occurs in tropical and subtropical environments. In the United States, Bla g 5 is the most important GST allergen and lack of coexposure to GSTs from certain species allows a better assessment of cross-reactivity.


To examine the molecular structure of GST allergens from cockroach (Bla g 5), dust mites (Der p 8 and Blo t 8), and helminth (Asc s 13) for potential cross-reactive sites, and to assess the IgE cross-reactivity of sensitized patients from a temperate climate for these allergens for molecular diagnostic purposes.


Four crystal structures were determined. Sera from patients allergic to cockroach and mite were tested for IgE reactivity to these GSTs. A panel of 6 murine anti–Bla g 5 mAb was assessed for cross-reactivity with the other 3 GSTs using antibody binding assays.


Comparisons of the allergen structures, formed by 2-domain monomers that dimerize, revealed few contiguous regions of similar exposed residues, rendering cross-reactivity unlikely. Accordingly, anti–Bla g 5 or anti–Der p 8 IgE from North American patients did not recognize Der p 8 or Bla g 5, respectively, and neither showed binding to Blo t 8 or Asc s 13. A weaker binding of anti–Bla g 5 IgE to Der p 8 versus Bla g 5 (˜100-fold) was observed by inhibition assays, similar to a weak recognition of Der p 8 by anti–Bla g 5 mAb. Patients from tropical Colombia had IgE to all 4 GSTs.


The lack of significant IgE cross-reactivity among the 4 GSTs is in agreement with the low shared amino acid identity at the molecular surface. Each GST is needed for accurate molecular diagnosis in different geographic areas.

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