Background: Cladosporium is an important allergenic fungus worldwide. We report here a major allergen of C. cladosporioides.
Methods: Major C. cladosporioides allergens were characterized by immunoblotting, N-terminal amino acid sequencing, protein purification and cDNA cloning.
Results: Seventy-four sera (38%) from 197 bronchial asthmatic patients demonstrated IgE binding against C. cladosporioides extracts. Among these 74 sera, 41 (55%) and 38 (51%) showed IgE binding against a 36- and a 20-kDa protein of C. cladosporioides, respectively. Both IgE-reacting components reacted with FUM20, a monoclonal antibody against fungal serine proteases. N-terminal amino acid sequencing results suggest that they are vacuolar serine proteases, and the 20-kDa component is possibly a degraded product of the 36-kDa allergen. A corresponding 5'-truncated 1,425-bp cDNA fragment was isolated. The mature protein after N-terminal processing starts with an N-terminal serine that is the ninth residue encoded by the 5'-truncated cDNA. The protein sequence deduced shares 69-72% sequence identity with Penicillium vacuolar serine proteases and was designated as Cla c 9. The purified 36-kDa Cla c 9 allergen showed proteolytic activity with peptide Z-Ala-Ala-Leu-pNA as substrate. IgE cross-reactivity was detected between the purified Cla c 9 and serine protease allergens from Aspergillusfumigatus and Penicillium chrysogenum.
Conclusion: We identified a vacuolar serine protease as a major allergen of C. cladosporioides (Cla c 9) and a major pan-allergen of prevalent airborne fungi. IgE cross-reactivity among these highly conserved serine protease pan-fungal allergens was also detectable.
Copyright 2008 S. Karger AG, Basel.