Molecular and immunological characterization of grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) parvalbumin Cten i 1: A major fish allergen in Hong Kong

Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2020 Oct;31(7):792-804. doi: 10.1111/pai.13259. Epub 2020 Jun 26.


Background: Grass carp is the most commonly consumed fish species in Hong Kong. The allergenicity of grass carp and its allergen content are yet to be reported. This study characterized the major allergen in grass carp and investigated its allergenicity.

Methods: Sixty-nine subjects with history of IgE-mediated allergic reaction to grass carp were recruited. The protein content in steamed grass carp extract was resolved by SDS-PAGE, and the major allergen was identified by immunoblotting with serum from subjects allergic to grass carp. The identity of allergen was elucidated by mass spectrometry and amino acid sequence obtained by amplifying the specific gene from cDNA library of grass carp. The cross-reactivity between parvalbumins from grass carp and other phylogenetically close (common carp) or commercially important (cod and salmon) species was investigated by competitive inhibition ELISA.

Results: A major IgE-binding protein was found at approximately 9 kDa and identified as parvalbumin by immunoblotting and mass spectrometry. Grass carp parvalbumin was more allergenic than common carp, salmon, and cod parvalbumins despite sharing high sequence homology. This newly identified major allergenic parvalbumin isoform from grass carp was registered as Cten i 1 in the World Health Organization and International Union of Immunological Societies allergen database.

Conclusions: Grass carp parvalbumin is identified as the major fish allergen in Hong Kong. The strong allergenicity of Cten i 1 contributes to the high IgE reactivity of grass carp. Grass carp, among other fish species, should be considered when managing fish-allergic patients.

Keywords: Cross-inhibition ELISA; cross-reactivity; fish allergy; food allergen; grass carp parvalbumin; immunoblot.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Allergens / chemistry
  • Allergens / genetics
  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Carps / immunology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross Reactions / immunology
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Fish Proteins / immunology*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Parvalbumins / immunology*
  • Salmon / immunology


  • Allergens
  • Fish Proteins
  • Parvalbumins
  • Immunoglobulin E