Towards defining molecular determinants recognized by adaptive immunity in allergic disease: an inventory of the available data

J Allergy (Cairo). 2010:2010:628026. doi: 10.1155/2010/628026. Epub 2011 Feb 13.


Adaptive immune responses associated with allergic reactions recognize antigens from a broad spectrum of plants and animals. Herein a meta-analysis was performed on allergy-related data from the immune epitope database (IEDB) to provide a current inventory and highlight knowledge gaps and areas for future work. The analysis identified over 4,500 allergy-related epitopes derived from 270 different allergens. Overall, the distribution of the data followed expectations based on the nature of allergic responses. Namely, the majority of epitopes were defined for B cells/antibodies and IgE-mediated reactivity, and relatively fewer T-cell epitopes, mostly CD4(+)/class II. Interestingly, the majority of food allergen epitopes were B-cells epitopes whereas a fairly even number of B- and T-cell epitopes were defined for airborne allergens. In addition, epitopes from nonhumans hosts were mostly T-cell epitopes. Overall, coverage of known allergens is sparse with data available for only ~17% of all allergens listed by the IUIS database. Thus, further research would be required to provide a more balanced representation across different allergen categories. Furthermore, inclusion of nonpeptidic epitopes in the IEDB also allows for inventory and analysis of immunological data associated with drug and contact allergen epitopes. Finally, our analysis also underscores that only a handful of epitopes have thus far been investigated for their immunotherapeutic potential.