Biochemical and immunological characterization of recombinant allergen Lol p 1

Elena Tamborini, Silvia Faccini, Jonas Lidholm, Margareta Svensson, Anna Brandazza, Renato Longhi, Hans Groenlund, Alessandro Sidoli, Paolo Arosio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pollen from perennial rye grass (Lolium perenne), a major cause of type-I allergy worldwide, contains a complex mixture of allergenic proteins among which Lol p 1 is one of the most important. We describe the expression, purification and characterization of a recombinant Lol p 1 overproduced in Escherichia coli. The recombinant allergen, expressed in high yields and purified in milligram amounts, bound to specific IgE antibodies from human sera, induced histamine release from sensitized humin basophils, and elicited rabbit antisera that recognize specifically recombinant Lol p 1 and natural Lol p 1 of pollen extract. Recombinant Lol p 1 was used to develop ImmunoCAP assays for analysis of 150 sera that were Radioallergosorbent test positive to L. perenne pollen. In 130 of them (87%) the assay detected a significant level of IgE antibodies to Lol p 1, reaching on average 37% of the level obtained with a test for IgE to the whole grass pollen extract. To map epitopes on Lol p 1, we produced three deletion mutants [des-(116-240)-Lol p 1, des-(1-88)-Lol p 1 and des-(133-189)-Lol p 1], which were efficiently expressed in bacteria. These all showed a strong reactivity with the specific rabbit IgG antibodies, but lacked most or all the allergenic properties of recombinant Lol p 1. A study of the antigenic structure of Lol p 1 was performed using the three deletion mutants and a set of 17-18-residue overlapping synthetic peptides covering the whole allergen sequence. The results indicate that human IgE and rabbit IgG antibodies bind to distinct regions of Lol p 1, and that at least some important IgE epitopes are mainly conformational. The findings suggest that recombinant allergens constitute useful reagents for further development of serological diagnosis of allergy and that it should be possible to produce immunogenic fragments of allergenic proteins without allergenic properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)886-894
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Allergen mutant
  • Lolium perenne
  • Perennial rye grass
  • Recombinant allergen
  • Recombinant Lol p 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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