Non-anaphylactic surface-exposed peptides of the major birch pollen allergen, Bet v 1, for preventive vaccination

Clin Exp Allergy. 2004 Oct;34(10):1525-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.2004.02081.x.


Background: Almost 100 million allergic patients are sensitized to the major birch pollen allergen, Bet v 1, a 17 kDa protein containing most of the IgE epitopes present in pollens of trees belonging to the Fagales order and plant-derived food.

Objective: Our aim was to develop an approach for the rational design of B cell epitope-derived, non-allergenic peptide allergy vaccines.

Methods: According to the three-dimensional (3-D) structure of birch pollen allergen, Bet v 1, six peptides comprising 25-32 preferably solvent-exposed amino acids were synthesized.

Results: Because of lack of secondary structure, the peptides showed no allergenic activity in allergic patients. In a mouse model of birch pollen allergy, peptide vaccination induced Bet v 1-specific IgG and prevented IgE-mediated allergic sensitization to Bet v 1. The protective role of peptide-induced blocking antibodies is demonstrated by inhibition of allergic patients IgE binding to the allergen and by blocking of allergen-induced basophil degranulation.

Conclusion: Our results indicate the mechanistic importance of blocking antibodies for allergy vaccination and present a B cell epitope-based approach for the rational design of safe peptide allergy vaccines whenever the structure of the disease-eliciting allergen is known.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Plant
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Basophils / immunology
  • Betula / immunology*
  • Desensitization, Immunologic / methods
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Histamine Release / immunology
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / prevention & control*
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Mice
  • Peptides / immunology
  • Pollen / immunology*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Skin Tests / methods
  • Vaccines / immunology*


  • Allergens
  • Antigens, Plant
  • Epitopes
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Peptides
  • Vaccines
  • Immunoglobulin E