Reduced allergenic potency of VR9-1, a mutant of the major shrimp allergen Pen a 1 (tropomyosin)

J Immunol. 2005 Dec 15;175(12):8354-64. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.175.12.8354.


The major shrimp allergen, tropomyosin, is an excellent model allergen for studying the influence of mutations within the primary structure on the allergenic potency of an allergen; Pen a 1 allows systematic evaluation and comparison of Ab-binding epitopes, because amino acid sequences of both allergenic and nonallergenic tropomyosins are known. Individually recognized IgE Ab-binding epitopes, amino acid positions, and substitutions critical for IgE Ab binding were identified by combinatorial substitution analysis, and 12 positions deemed critical were mutated in the eight major epitopes. The mutant VR9-1 was characterized with regard to allergenic potency by mediator release assays using sera from shrimp-allergic subjects and sera from BALB/c, C57BL/6J, C3H/HeJ, and CBA/J mice sensitized with shrimp extract using alum, cholera toxin, and Bordetella pertussis, as adjuvants. The secondary structure of VR9-1 was not altered; however, the allergenic potency was reduced by 90-98% measuring allergen-specific mediator release from humanized rat basophilic leukemia (RBL) cells, RBL 30/25. Reduced mediator release of RBL-2H3 cells sensitized with sera from mice that were immunized with shrimp extract indicated that mice produced IgE Abs to Pen a 1 and to the same epitopes as humans did. In conclusion, data obtained by mapping sequential epitopes were used to generate a Pen a 1 mutant with significantly reduced allergenic potency. Epitopes that are relevant for human IgE Ab binding are also major binding sites for murine IgE Abs. These results indicate that the murine model might be used to optimize the Pen a 1 mutant for future therapeutic use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / chemistry
  • Allergens / genetics*
  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antibody Affinity
  • Arthropod Proteins
  • Epitope Mapping
  • Epitopes / genetics
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Mutation*
  • Penaeidae / immunology*
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / immunology*
  • Tropomyosin / genetics


  • Allergens
  • Arthropod Proteins
  • Epitopes
  • Proteins
  • Tropomyosin
  • shrimp allergens Sa
  • Immunoglobulin E