Because the ascomycete Cladosporium herbarum embodies one of the most important, world-wide occurring fungal species responsible for eliciting typical IgE-mediated hypersensitivity reactions ranging from rhinitis and ocular symptoms to severe involvement of the lower respiratory tract, a more comprehensive definition of its detailed allergen repertoire is unquestionably of critical medical as well as therapeutic significance. By screening a C. herbarum cDNA library with IgE antibodies pooled from 3 mold-reactive sera, we were able to identify, clone and affinity-purify a novel allergen candidate (29.9 kDa) exhibiting considerable (three-dimensional) homology to the alpha/beta hydrolase fold superfamily. The latter covers a collection of hydrolytic enzymes of widely differing phylogenetic origin as well as catalytic activity (operating in countless biological contexts) that in general exhibit only little sequence similarity yet show a remarkable conservation of structural topology. Our present study (i) characterizes recombinant non-fusion C. herbarum hydrolase as a natively folded, minor mold allergen that displays a prevalence of IgE reactivity of approximately 17% in our in vitro immunoblot experiments, (ii) proposes the existence of several putative (speculatively cross-reactive) ascomycete orthologues as determined via genome-wide in silico predictions, and (iii) finally implies that C. herbarum hydrolase could be included in forthcoming minimal testing sets when fungal allergy is suspected.
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