Recombinant allergens Pru av 1 and Pru av 4 and a newly identified lipid transfer protein in the in vitro diagnosis of cherry allergy

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2001 Apr;107(4):724-31. doi: 10.1067/mai.2001.113864.


Background: In central and northern Europe food allergy to fruits of the Rosaceae family is strongly associated with birch pollinosis because of the existence of IgE cross-reactive homologous allergens in birch pollen and food. By contrast, in the Mediterranean population allergic reactions to these fruits frequently are not related to birch pollen allergy and are predominantly elicited by lipid transfer proteins (LTPs).

Objective: We sought to determine the prevalence of IgE sensitization to the recombinant cherry allergens Pru av 1 and Pru av 4 in comparison with cherry extract within a representative group of patients who were allergic to cherries recruited in Germany and to compare the relevance of IgE to cherry LTPs in Italian patients.

Methods: Recombinant Pru av 1 and rPru av 4 were available from earlier studies. The cDNA of the cherry LTPs was obtained by using a PCR-cloning strategy. The protein was expressed in Escherichia coli and purified by means of metal chelate affinity chromatography. Sera from 101 German patients with birch pollinosis and oral allergy syndrome to cherry and sera from 7 Italian patients with cherry allergy were investigated by using enzyme allergosorbent tests for IgE reactivity with cherry extract, rPru av 1, rPru av 4, and the recombinant cherry LTP. Inhibition experiments were performed to compare the IgE reactivity of natural and recombinant cherry LTPs and to investigate potential cross-reactivity with birch pollen allergens.

Results: The LTP from cherry comprises 91 amino acids and a 26 amino acid signal peptide. The mature cherry LTP shows high amino acid sequence identity with allergenic LTPs from peach (Pru p 3, 88%), apricot (Pru ar 3, 86%), and maize (Zea m 14, 59%) and displays no IgE cross-reactivity with birch pollen. The IgE prevalences in the German patients were as follows: LTP, 3 of 101 (3%); rPru av 1, 97 of 101 (96.0%); rPru av 4, 16 of 101 (16.2%); and cherry extract, 98 of 101 (97%). All 7 Italian patients had IgE against the cherry LTP.

Conclusions: Recombinant allergens are useful tools for a more accurate in vitro IgE-based diagnosis of cherry allergy. Taken together, they mimic the allergenic activity of cherry extract, having slightly higher biologic activity. Sensitization to the cherry LTP is relevant for a minority of patients recruited in Germany, but our data indicate that it may be a major allergen in Italy.

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antigens, Plant
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / immunology*
  • Carrier Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Cross Reactions
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diagnosis*
  • Fruit / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plant Proteins / immunology*
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology
  • Recombinant Proteins / isolation & purification


  • Allergens
  • Antigens, Plant
  • Carrier Proteins
  • PRUA1 protein, Prunus avium
  • Plant Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • lipid transfer proteins, plant
  • Immunoglobulin E