Structure, Allergenicity, and Cross-Reactivity of Plant Allergens

  • Christian Radauer
  • Heimo Breiteneder
Part of the Immunomics Reviews book series (IMMUN, volume 2)


Within the last two decades, hundreds of allergenic proteins from diverse sources have been identified. The availability of numerous allergen sequences provided the basis for classifying allergens into families of evolutionary and structurally related proteins. This chapter gives an introduction into the protein family classification of allergens of plant origin. Our analysis showed that the majority of plant allergens could be grouped into a small number of protein families. The most important families of plant allergens are the prolamin superfamily, which contains several groups of important food and respiratory allergens, the profilins and the Bet v 1-related proteins, two families of allergens responsible for cross-reactivity between pollen and plant foods, and the seed storage globulins, major allergenic components of legumes, tree nuts, and other dicotyledonous seeds. The molecular classification of allergens can be used to establish a correlation between sequence and structural similarity and cross-reactivity among homologous allergens, delineate common properties of allergens, and deduce possible factors that make proteins allergenic.


Food allergy Pollen allergy Allergens Protein families 



hidden Markov model




non-specific lipid transfer protein


pathogenesis-related proteins family 10.



The authors wish to acknowledge the support of the Austrian Science Fund grant SFB F01802.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pathophysiology, Center of Physiology and PathophysiologyMedical University of ViennaAustria

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