Scope: Apium graveolens represents a relevant food allergen source linked with severe systemic reactions. We sought to identify an IgE-binding nonspecific lipid transfer protein (nsLTP) in celery tuber.
Methods and results: A low molecular weight protein exclusively present in celery tuber was purified and designated Api g 6. The entire protein sequence was obtained by MS and classified as member of the nsLTP2 family. Api g 6 is monomeric in solution with a molecular mass of 6936 Da. The alpha-helical disulfide bond-stabilized structure confers tremendous thermal stability (Tm > 90°C) and high resistance to gastrointestinal digestion. Endolysosomal degradation demonstrated low susceptibility and the presence of a dominant peptide cluster at the C-terminus. Thirty-eight percent of A. graveolens allergic patients demonstrated IgE reactivity to purified natural Api g 6 in ELISA and heat treatment did only partially reduce its allergenic activity. No correlation in IgE binding and limited cross-reactivity was observed with Api g 2 and Art v 3, nsLTP1 from celery stalks and mugwort pollen.
Conclusion: Api g 6, a novel nsLTP2 from celery tuber represents the first well-characterized allergen in this protein family. Despite similar structural and physicochemical features as nsLTP1, immunological properties of Api g 6 are distinct which warrants its inclusion in molecule-based diagnosis of A. graveolens allergy.
Keywords: Apium graveolens; Celery tuber; IgE reactivity; Nonspecific lipid transfer protein 2; Plant food allergy.
© 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.