Identification of grass pollen allergens by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and serological screening

Valeria Corti, Angela Cattaneo, Angela Bachi, Renato E. Rossi, Giorgio Monasterolo, Clara Paolucci, Samuele E. Burastero, Massimo Alessio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Approximately 50% of allergic patients are sensitized against grass pollen allergens. The characterization of specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) reactivity to allergen components in pollen-allergic patients is fundamental for clinical diagnosis and for immunotherapy. Complex allergen extracts are commonly used in diagnostic tests as well as in immunotherapy preparations, but their composition in single allergenic molecules is only partially known. Diagnostic tests which utilize recombinant or immuno-purified allergens have been made available in clinical practice. They allow to obtain specific profiles of IgE reactivity, but the panel of available molecules is far from complete. Here, we used a proteomic approach in order to detect grass allergens from a natural protein extract. A five-grass pollen extract used for diagnosis and immunotherapy was resolved by two dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE), and assayed with 9 sera from pollen-allergic patients whose sensitization profile was dissected by using IgE reactivity to recombinant allergens. 2-DE immunoreactivity patterns were matched with IgE reactivity to identify protein spots as candidate allergens. Identity was confirmed by mass spectrometry analysis. We identified 6 out of 8 expected clinically relevant allergens in the natural grass extract. Moreover, we identified different molecular isoforms of single allergens, thus obtaining a more detailed profile of IgE reactivity. Some discrepancies in protein isoform profile and sera immunoreactivity between recombinant and native allergen 5 from Phleum pratense were observed and a new putative allergen was described. The proteomic approach applied to the analysis of a natural allergen allows the comprehensive evaluation of the sensitization profile of allergic patients and the identification of new allergens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-736
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005


  • Allergen
  • Grass pollen
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology

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