IgE reactivity to profilin in pollen-sensitized subjects with adverse reactions to banana and pineapple

Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2002 Jun;128(2):105-14. doi: 10.1159/000059400.


Background: The so-called 'latex-fruit syndrome' is a well-documented phenomenon in cross-reactive allergies. By contrast, there is a lack of information about allergy to exotic fruits in patients with a predominant pollen sensitization. Since the ubiquitous protein profilin has been identified as an allergen in natural rubber latex as well as in pollen-related foods, the aim of this study was to investigate the role of profilin in allergy to certain exotic fruits.

Methods: Recombinant profilins from banana and pineapple were cloned by a PCR technique after isolation of total RNA using degenerated profilin-specific primers. The unknown 5' ends of copy DNA (cDNA) were identified by rapid amplification of 5'cDNA ends (5'-RACE) and expression in Escherichia coli BL21(DE3) cells. The recombinant profilins were purified by affinity chromatography using poly-(L)-proline as the solid phase. IgE-binding capabilities were characterized by means of immunoblot and Enzyme Allergosorbent Test (EAST). The cross-reactivity to birch pollen profilin and latex profilin was studied by EAST as well as by immunoblot inhibition experiments.

Results: Both banana and pineapple profilin were found to consist of 131 amino acid residues with high amino acid sequence identity to known allergenic pollen and food profilins (71-84%). IgE binding to the recombinant profilins was observed in 7/16 sera from subjects with suspected banana allergy (44%) and in 8/19 sera from subjects with suspected pineapple allergy (42%). Inhibition experiments indicated similar IgE reactivity of natural and recombinant allergens. In addition, high cross-reactivity to birch pollen profilin Bet v 2 and latex profilin Hev b 8 was demonstrated by immunoblot inhibition as well as EAST inhibition experiments.

Conclusions: Since a high IgE-binding prevalence of about 40% was obtained in both banana and pineapple allergy, we conclude that profilin is an important mediator of IgE cross-reactivity between pollen and exotic fruits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allergens / adverse effects
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Allergens / metabolism
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Blotting, Western
  • Contractile Proteins*
  • Cross Reactions / immunology
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / blood
  • Food Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Fruit / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology*
  • Latex Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Male
  • Microfilament Proteins / adverse effects
  • Microfilament Proteins / genetics
  • Microfilament Proteins / immunology*
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Plant Proteins / adverse effects
  • Plant Proteins / immunology*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Pollen / adverse effects
  • Pollen / immunology
  • Profilins
  • Protein Binding
  • Recombinant Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Allergens
  • Contractile Proteins
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Profilins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Immunoglobulin E