Hypersensitivity to Forcipomyia taiwana (biting midge): clinical analysis and identification of major For t 1, For t 2 and For t 3 allergens

Allergy. 2005 Dec;60(12):1518-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2005.00918.x.


Background: Forcipomyia taiwana is a tiny, blood-sucking midge that cause intense pruritus and swelling in sensitive individuals. It is distributed island-wide in rural Taiwan and Southern China.

Objective: This study aimed to study the allergic immune responses and identify F. taiwana allergens.

Methods: Crude whole body F. taiwana extracts were prepared with phosphate-buffered saline. The specific IgE antibody was determined by enzyme-linked immunoassay and immunoblotting. Protein was analyzed by electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry.

Results: Among the 372 subjects that were exposed to F. taiwana bites, 179 (48%) reported an immediate skin reaction with/without delay reaction and 41(11.1%) reported a solely delay reaction. The skin of 21 subjects was tested with F. taiwana extract. Of these 21 subjects, 12 (57.1%) produced immediate skin reactions and contained high levels of specific IgE antibody against F. taiwana. Immunoblotting revealed that 11 allergenic components are able to bind specific IgE. Allergens of 22, 24, 35, 36, and 64 kDa bound 50, 50, 75, 66.7, and 75% of IgE-containing sera tested, respectively. Tryptic fragments of the 24, 35, 36, and 64 kDa allergens were analyzed by ESI-MS/MS. Selected tryptic peptides of 24, 35, and 36, and 64 kDa allergens exhibited significant sequence identity with triosephosphate isomerase of Anopheles merus,Tenebrio molitor,Ochlerotatus togoi, and Chrysops vittatus, fructose 1,6-bisphosphate aldolase of Antheraea yamamai and Homalodisca coagulata, and a slow muscle myosin S1 heavy chain of Homarusamericanus and a protein with unknown function from A. gambiae, respectively. The 35 and 36 kDa proteins may represent different isoforms of the fructose 1,6-bisphosphate aldolase.

Conclusion: We conclude that immediate reaction to F. taiwana bites is IgE mediated and the 24 (For t 1), 35 (For t 2), and 64 kDa (For t 3) proteins are candidates for major F. taiwana allergens. Further studies are needed to confirm these allergens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Allergens / chemistry*
  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Bites and Stings / immunology
  • Ceratopogonidae / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / epidemiology*
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / etiology
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / pathology
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Skin Tests


  • Allergens
  • Immunoglobulin E