Plant profilins are known pan-allergens involved in the cross-reactions between pollen and plant foods. Peanut profilin, Ara h 5, is one of the important peanut allergens. Presently, most immunological, biochemical and structural studies on peanut allergens have focused on the three major allergens (Ara h 1, 2 and 3). Here Ara h 5 was cloned, expressed in Escherichia coli, Rosetta2(DE3) (Novagen), purified using a combination of ammonium sulfate fractionation and size-exclusion chromatography and yielded a total of 29 mg/l of culture. IgE reactivity was assayed using multiplexed microarray with other peanut allergens (Ara h 1, 2, 3, and 8) and birch (Bet v 2) and timothy (Phl p 2) profilin using sera from peanut allergic Swedish patients. Using homology modeling, Ara h 5 structure was also generated, compared against other profilins and utilized to predict surface-exposed residues potentially forming epitopes. The allergen was recognized by 3 out of 33 sera (9.1%). IgE reactivity to Ara h 5 also coincided with that of two other profilins, Phl p 12 and Bet v 2, confirming cross-reactivity. Interestingly, IgE reactivity to Ara h 5 was higher than above-mentioned profilins which may be indicating specificity of sera towards peanut profilin. Eight surface-exposed epitopes were predicted and verified against experimentally validated sequential epitopes. Three epitopes (#1, 5 and 7) mostly located at the accessible loops and neutral to relatively electropositive sites were found common among profilins, which should be involved in cross-reactivity. A specific putative epitope (#4) was also found which may explain the relative high IgE reactivity to Ara h 5 as compared to the other profilins. Due to its close relation to other allergenic profilins, Ara h 5 could be used as a model and allergen of choice for profilin allergy diagnosis.
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