Biology of tree pollen allergens

Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2004 Sep;4(5):384-90. doi: 10.1007/s11882-004-0089-y.


More than 25% of the population suffer from type I allergy. Pollens from trees of the Fagales, Oleaceae, and Cupressaceae belong to the most potent and frequent allergen sources. During the past 15 years, the nature of the most important allergens has been identified by molecular biological techniques, and recombinant allergens equivalent to the natural allergens have been produced. These advances provide insight into the biological functions of important allergens and allow the development of novel forms of diagnosis and therapy. In this review, we focus on Fagales allergens to illustrate the impact of recombinant allergens on diagnosis and therapy. We discuss structural similarities as a molecular basis for cross-reactivities and develop diagnostic concepts by using species-specific marker allergens as well as highly cross-reactive allergens. The identification of the allergen recognition profiles of patients with recombinant allergens allows a more precise selection of patients for available forms of allergy treatment. Moreover, we describe novel recombinant allergen-based forms of specific immunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergens* / immunology
  • Allergens* / therapeutic use
  • Betula*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity* / diagnosis
  • Hypersensitivity* / therapy
  • Pollen* / immunology
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Trees / adverse effects*


  • Allergens
  • Recombinant Proteins