Allergo Journal International

, Volume 23, Issue 8, pp 274–280 | Cite as

Marker allergens of weed pollen – basic considerations and diagnostic benefits in the clinical routine

Part 16 of the Series Molecular Allergology
  • Teresa Stemeseder
  • Wolfgang Hemmer
  • Thomas Hawranek
  • Gabriele Gadermaier
Review article


The term weed is referring to plants used as culinary herbs and medicinal plants as well as ecologically adaptive and invasive segetal plants. In Europe, pollen of ragweed, mugwort, English plantain and pellitory are the main elicitors of weed pollen allergies. Presently, 35 weed pollen allergens have been identified. The most relevant belong to the protein families of pectate lyases, defensin-like proteins, non-specific lipid transfer proteins, and Ole e 1-like proteins. The sensitization frequency depends on geographic regions and might affect more than 50 % of pollen allergic patients in distinct regions. Due to overlapping flowering seasons, similar habitats, polysensitizations and cross-reactive (pan)-allergens, it is difficult to diagnose genuine weed pollen sensitization using pollen extracts. Marker allergens for component-resolved diagnostics are available for the important weed pollen. These are Amb a 1 (ragweed), Art v 1 (mugwort), Pla l 1 (English plantain) and Par j 2 (pellitory). Molecule-based approaches can be used to identify the primary sensitizer and thus enable selection of the appropriate weed pollen extracts for allergen immunotherapy.

Key words

Weed pollen marker allergens mugwort ragweed English plantain pellitory component resolved diagnostics 



Allergen immunotherapy


Cross-reactive carbohydrate determinants


Immunoglobulin E


Non-specific lipid transfer proteins




Skin prick test


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Copyright information

© Urban & Vogel 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teresa Stemeseder
    • 1
  • Wolfgang Hemmer
    • 2
  • Thomas Hawranek
    • 3
  • Gabriele Gadermaier
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Molecular BiologyUniversity of SalzburgSalzburgAustria
  2. 2.Floridsdorf Allergy CenterViennaAustria
  3. 3.Department of DermatologyParacelsus Private Medical University SalzburgSalzburgÖsterreich
  4. 4.Christian Doppler Laboratory for Biosimilar CharacterizationUniversity of SalzburgSalzburgAustria
  5. 5.Christian Doppler Laboratory for Biosimilar Characterization Department of Molecular BiologyUniversity of SalzburgSalzburgAustria

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