Maize food allergy: lipid-transfer proteins, endochitinases, and alpha-zein precursor are relevant maize allergens in double-blind placebo-controlled maize-challenge-positive patients
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Italian patients with maize anaphylaxis have been shown to have IgE toward two major maize allergens: an alpha-amylase inhibitor and a 9-kDa LTP. A complete study on maize food allergens in patients with positive maize double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge (DBPCFC) is lacking. The objective was to utilize the three maize protein fractions to identify and characterize the most relevant IgE-binding proteins recognized by the sera of Italian and Swiss patients with either a positive maize-DBPCFC or a history of maize-induced anaphylaxis. Osborne’s protein fractions of maize were extracted to obtain water-soluble, total zein, and total protein fractions. Protein IgE-binding capacity was investigated by SDS-PAGE immunoblotting using the sera from DBPCFC-positive patients and from patients with maize-induced anaphylaxis. Purified maize LTP was used to inhibit the IgE immunoblotting of the three protein fractions. IgE immunoblotting demonstrated that the 9-kDa LTP was recognized by all the Italian patients and by none of the Swiss patients. Other allergens were: 14-kDa α-amylase inhibitor, 30-kDa endochitinases A and -B, 19 kDa zein-β precursor, and 26 kDa zein-α precursor; a newly described allergen, the globulin-2 precursor, identified in the total protein fraction. It is noteworthy that maize LTP and endochitinase were cross-reactive with grape LTP and one grape endochitinase. LTP was found to be the only major allergen in Italian patients with either positive maize challenge or a history of maize-induced anaphylaxis. We have identified other maize allergens in subjects with maize food allergy, as grape cross-reactive endochitinase, however, the clinical significance of these proteins needs to be investigated in larger groups of patients with allergy to these food items.
KeywordsMaize allergens Grape allergens Grape cross-reactivity Double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge Maize anaphylaxis Lipid transfer proteins LTP
This study was supported by the contract with the European Commission, Food Allergy Risk Evaluation Based on improved Diagnosis, Allergens, and Test methods (FAREDAT), Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources QLRT—2001–00301, and by the Swiss Federal Office for Education and Science, BBW 01.0159-1.
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