Olive pollen allergy: searching for immunodominant T-cell epitopes on the Ole e 1 molecule

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The amino-acid and nucleotide sequence of Ole e 1 (the major antigen of olive pollen) has been described and the IgE antibody response to this major allergen was associated with DR7/DQ2 antigens. With this previous data we try to define the T-cell epitopes implicated in Ole e 1 reactivity.


To study the recognition of T cells (derived from allergic and non-allergic Ole e 1 patients) to Ole e 1 synthetic peptides in order to define immunodominant T-cell epitopes.


We have compared the proliferative response of the peripheral blood mononuclear cells from Ole e 1 sensitized patients vs. non-sensitized controls, induced by 14 Ole e 1 synthetic peptides. Thirty subjects were classified in two groups: group 1 (nonresponders against Ole e 1, n = 16) and group 2 (Ole e 1 responders, n = 14), according to their clinical parameters and the presence or not in their sera of the significant Ole e 1 IgE antibody levels.


Our results shown that it is possible to find T cells reactive to Ole e 1 peptides in patients with and without significant levels of Ole e 1 IgE antibodies. However, the percentage of response was higher in patients with IgE antibodies 71.4% vs 25%), and the recognition profile was different: the control group showed a broad reactivity pattern, in contrast, the response by the 'Ole e 1 responders' group was mainly directed against three peptides of the carboxi-terminal region, peptides 10 (91-102), 12 (109-120) and 13 (119-130), with a response frequency of 35.7, 28.5 and 28.5%, respectively. By direct and inhibition test no antibody response was found against the synthetic peptides.


Our data suggest that the regions between 91 and 102 and 109-130 amino-acids on the Ole e 1 molecule are immunodominant T-cell epitopes. These epitopes are not recognized by IgE antibodies.

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