Background: Enzymatic allergens of storage mites that contaminate stored food products are poorly characterized. We describe biochemical and immunological properties of the native alpha-amylase allergen Aca s 4 from Acarus siro, a medically important storage mite.
Results: A. siro produced a high level of alpha-amylase activity attributed to Aca s 4. This enzyme was purified and identified by protein sequencing and LC-MS/MS analysis. Aca s 4 showed a distinct inhibition pattern and an unusual alpha-amylolytic activity with low sensitivity to activation by chloride ions. Homology modeling of Aca s 4 revealed a structural change in the chloride-binding site that may account for this activation pattern. Aca s 4 was recognized by IgE from house dust mite-sensitive patients, and potential epitopes for cross-reactivity with house dust mite group 4 allergens were found.
Conclusions: We present the first protein-level characterization of a group 4 allergen from storage mites. Due to its high production and IgE reactivity, Aca s 4 is potentially relevant to allergic hypersensitivity.