Der f 38 Is a Novel TLR4-Binding Allergen Related to Allergy Pathogenesis from Dermatophagoides farinae

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Aug 5;22(16):8440. doi: 10.3390/ijms22168440.


It is difficult to treat allergic diseases including asthma completely because its pathogenesis remains unclear. House dust mite (HDM) is a critical allergen and Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 is a member of the toll-like receptor family, which plays an important role in allergic diseases. The purpose of this study was to characterize a novel allergen, Der f 38 binding to TLR4, and unveil its role as an inducer of allergy. Der f 38 expression was detected in the body and feces of Dermatophagoides farinae (DF). Electron microscopy revealed that it was located in the granule layer, the epithelium layer, and microvilli of the posterior midgut. The skin prick test showed that 60% of allergic subjects were Der f 38-positive. Der f 38 enhanced surface 203c expression in basophils of Der f 38-positive allergic subjects. By analysis of the model structure of Der p 38, the expected epitope sites are exposed on the exterior side. In animal experiments, Der f 38 triggered an infiltration of inflammatory cells. Intranasal (IN) administration of Der f 38 increased neutrophils in the lung. Intraperitoneal (IP) and IN injections of Der f 38 induced both eosinophils and neutrophils. Increased total IgE level and histopathological features were found in BALB/c mice treated with Der f 38 by IP and IN injections. TLR4 knockout (KO) BALB/c mice exhibited less inflammation and IgE level in the sera compared to wild type (WT) mice. Der f 38 directly binds to TLR4 using biolayer interferometry. Der f 38 suppressed the apoptosis of neutrophils and eosinophils by downregulating proteins in the proapoptotic pathway including caspase 9, caspase 3, and BAX and upregulating proteins in the anti-apoptotic pathway including BCL-2 and MCL-1. These findings might shed light on the pathogenic mechanisms of allergy to HDM.

Keywords: Der f 38; TLR4; allergy; house dust mite.

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Dermatophagoides / immunology*
  • Arthropod Proteins / immunology*
  • Dermatophagoides farinae / immunology*
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Protein Binding / immunology*
  • Pyroglyphidae / metabolism
  • Skin Tests / methods
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / immunology*


  • Allergens
  • Antigens, Dermatophagoides
  • Arthropod Proteins
  • Epitopes
  • TLR4 protein, human
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4
  • Immunoglobulin E

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