Aspergillus and Penicillium allergens: focus on proteases

Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2007 Sep;7(5):351-6. doi: 10.1007/s11882-007-0053-8.


Penicillium and Aspergillus species are prevalent airborne fungi. It is imperative to identify and characterize their major allergens. Alkaline and/or vacuolar serine proteases are major allergens of several prevalent Penicillium and Aspergillus species. They are also major immunoglobulin (Ig) E-reacting components of the most prevalent airborne yeast, Rhodotorula mucilaginosa, and the most prevalent Cladosporium species, C. cladosporioides. IgE cross-reactivity has been detected among these major pan-fungal serine protease allergens. In addition, the alkaline serine protease of P. chrysogenum (Pen ch 13) induces histamine release from basophils of asthmatic patients, degrades the tight junction protein occludin, and stimulates release of proinflammatory mediators from human bronchial epithelial cells. In addition to induction of IgE and inflammatory airway responses, the alkaline serine protease allergen of A. fumigatus (Asp f 13) has synergistic effects on Asp f 2-induced immune response in mice. Studies of these serine protease major allergens elucidate the diverse allergic disease mechanisms and facilitate the development of better therapeutic strategies.

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Allergens / isolation & purification
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Aspergillus / enzymology*
  • Epitope Mapping
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Mice
  • Penicillium / enzymology*
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Serine Endopeptidases / immunology*
  • Serine Endopeptidases / isolation & purification


  • Allergens
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Serine Endopeptidases