Identification of grape and wine allergens as an endochitinase 4, a lipid-transfer protein, and a thaumatin

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003 Feb;111(2):350-9. doi: 10.1067/mai.2003.35.


Background: Few allergic reactions to grape are reported in the literature. In some cases an association with peach and cherry allergy was observed. No IgE-mediated reactions to wine have been described, and no grape major allergens have yet been identified.

Objective: We describe several severe reactions to grape or wine. We characterized the grape major allergens and tried to identify the allergen in wine.

Methods: We collected documented histories of allergic reactions to grape and wine. Grape allergens were identified by means of SDS-PAGE and immunoblotting and purified by means of HPLC. Using amino acid sequencing and mass spectrometry, we identified the family of proteins to which the allergens belong. Cross-reactivity with peach and cherry was evaluated by means of cross-wise inhibition experiments.

Results: Eleven patients with reactions to grape and 3 with anaphylactic reactions to wine were recruited. The major allergens were an endochitinase 4A and a lipid-transfer protein (LTP) that was homologous to and cross-reactive with peach LTP. A 24-kd protein homologous to the cherry thaumatin-like allergen was a minor allergen. Endochitinase 4A is very likely the allergen in vino novello and in vino Fragolino.

Conclusions: Grape and wine might cause severe allergic reactions in sensitive patients. The major allergens of grape are endochitinase 4A, which is also the allergen of wine, and an LTP cross-reacting with the peach major allergen.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allergens / chemistry*
  • Allergens / isolation & purification
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antigens, Plant
  • Carrier Proteins / immunology
  • Chitinases / immunology
  • Cross Reactions
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plant Proteins / immunology
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Vitis / adverse effects*
  • Vitis / chemistry
  • Vitis / immunology*
  • Wine / adverse effects*
  • Wine / analysis


  • Allergens
  • Antigens, Plant
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Sweetening Agents
  • lipid transfer proteins, plant
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • thaumatin protein, plant
  • Chitinases