Background: Indoor mould growth and dampness are associated with respiratory health effects and allergies and several studies demonstrated that mainly Aspergillus versicolor and Penicillium expansum are responsible for indoor mould exposure. In contrast, commercialized test systems to diagnose allergic reactions to this mould species are not available. In this study, allergenic proteins from spores of the indoor relevant species A. versicolor and P. expansum should get detected and identified.
Methods: We used two-dimensional (2D)-gel electrophoresis of spore proteins and immunoblotting with sera from patients participating in an epidemiologic study about indoor exposure of moulds and their influence on the development of allergies (ESTERSPEGA). Sera were screened for IgE antibodies specific for proteins from A. versicolor, A. fumigatus and P. expansum in one-dimensional blots and in 2D immunoblots. From the 2D gels, the corresponding spots were picked and identified by mass spectrometry.
Results: More than 20 allergens from A. versicolor were identified; in particular, seven major allergens were selected, which were detected by more than 90% of the positive sera. The most abundant allergen was glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, followed by an unnamed protein, which displays a high homology to sobitol/xylose reductase. The other allergens were identified as catalase A, hypothetical protein AN6918.2, enolase, hypothetical protein AN0297.2 and a protein with homology to a fungal malate dehydrogenase.
Conclusions: The results indicate an important role of spore proteins from A. versicolor for sensitization against indoor moulds and identification of the major allergens might enable species-specific diagnosis of allergic reactions.