Panallergens and their impact on the allergic patient

Allergy Asthma Clin Immunol. 2010 Jan 18;6(1):1. doi: 10.1186/1710-1492-6-1.


The panallergen concept encompasses families of related proteins, which are involved in general vital processes and thus, widely distributed throughout nature. Plant panallergens share highly conserved sequence regions, structure, and function. They are responsible for many IgE cross-reactions even between unrelated pollen and plant food allergen sources. Although usually considered as minor allergens, sensitization to panallergens might be problematic as it bears the risk of developing multiple sensitizations. Clinical manifestations seem to be tightly connected with geographical and exposure factors. Future population- and disease-based screenings should provide new insights on panallergens and their contribution to disease manifestations. Such information requires molecule-based diagnostics and will be valuable for developing patient-tailored prophylactic and therapeutic approaches. In this article, we focus on profilins, non-specific lipid transfer proteins, polcalcins, and Bet v 1-related proteins and discuss possible consequences of panallergen sensitization for the allergic patient. Based on their pattern of IgE cross-reactivity, which is reflected by their distribution in the plant kingdom, we propose a novel classification of panallergens into ubiquitously spread "real panallergens" (e.g. profilins) and widespread "eurallergens" (e.g. polcalcins). "Stenallergens" display more limited distribution and cross-reactivity patterns, and "monallergens" are restricted to a single allergen source.