Pomegranate chitinase III: Identification of a new allergen and analysis of sensitization patterns to chitinases

Mol Immunol. 2018 Nov:103:89-95. doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2018.09.009. Epub 2018 Sep 19.


Allergy to pomegranate is often associated with severe symptoms. Two allergens have previously been described: 9k-LTP Pun g 1 and pommaclein Pun g 7. This study describes the isolation of a chitinase III, identified by direct protein sequencing and mass spectrometry. It is a 29-kDa protein showing 69% sequence identity with the latex hevamine and IgE binding in dot blotting, immunoblotting and FABER®test. Chitinase-specific IgE were detected in 69 of 357 patients sensitized to one or more pomegranate allergenic preparations present on the FABER®test. Using this test, 19.2% of the patients sensitized to kiwifruit chitinase IV were also sensitized to pomegranate chitinase III, rather than to latex chitinase I (7.2%) with which it shares the N-terminal hevein-like domain. In conclusion, a new allergen has been identified, contributing to improving food allergy diagnosis. This study reveals the important role of chitinases III and IV as allergy sensitizers and prompts further investigations.

Keywords: Chitinase III; Chitinase IV; FABER(®) test; Food allergy; Pomegranate allergen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Allergens / genetics
  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Allergens / metabolism
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antigens, Plant / genetics
  • Antigens, Plant / immunology*
  • Antigens, Plant / metabolism
  • Child
  • Chitinases / genetics
  • Chitinases / immunology*
  • Chitinases / metabolism
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Lythraceae / enzymology*
  • Lythraceae / genetics
  • Male
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / immunology*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Skin Tests
  • Young Adult


  • Allergens
  • Antigens, Plant
  • Plant Proteins
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Chitinases