Molecular cloning, expression and immunological characterisation of Pas n 1, the major allergen of Bahia grassPaspalum notatumpollen

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Bahia grass, Paspalum notatum, is a clinically important subtropical grass with a prolonged pollination season from spring to autumn. We aimed to clone and characterise the major Bahia grass pollen allergen, Pas n 1. Grass pollen-allergic patients presenting to a tertiary hospital allergy clinic were tested for IgE reactivity with Bahia grass pollen extract by skin prick testing, ImmunoCAP, ELISA and immunoblotting. Using primers deduced from the N-terminal peptide sequence of a group 1 allergen of Bahia grass pollen extract separated by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, the complete Pas n 1 cDNA was obtained by rapid amplification of cDNA ends and cloned. Biological relevance of recombinant Pas n 1 expressed in Escherichia coli was assessed by serum IgE reactivity and basophil activation. Twenty-nine of 34 (85%) consecutive patients presenting with grass pollen allergy were skin prick test positive to Bahia grass pollen. The Pas n 1 cDNA has sequence homology with the β-expansin 1 glycoprotein family and is more closely related to the maize pollen group 1 allergen (85% identity) than to ryegrass Lol p 1 or Timothy grass Phl p 1 (64 and 66% identity, respectively). rPas n 1 reacted with serum IgE in 47 of 55 (85%) Bahia grass pollen-allergic patients, activated basophils and inhibited serum IgE reactivity with the 29 kDa band of Bahia grass pollen extract. In conclusion the cDNA for the major group 1 allergen of the subtropical Bahia grass pollen, Pas n 1, was identified and cloned. rPas n 1 is immunologically active and is a valuable reagent for diagnosis and specific immunotherapy of grass pollen allergy.

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