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Research Article

Conversion of the major birch pollen allergen, Bet v 1, into two nonanaphylactic T cell epitope-containing fragments: candidates for a novel form of specific immunotherapy.

S Vrtala, K Hirtenlehner, L Vangelista, A Pastore, H G Eichler, W R Sperr, P Valent, C Ebner, D Kraft and R Valenta

Department of Immunopathology, Institute of General and Experimental Pathology, AKH, University of Vienna, Austria.

Published April 1, 1997

A novel approach to reduce the anaphylactic activity of allergens is suggested. The strategy makes use of the presence of conformational immunoglobulin E (IgE) epitopes on one of the most common allergens. The three dimensional structure of the major birch pollen allergen, Bet v 1, was disrupted by expressing two parts of the Bet v 1 cDNA representing amino acids 1-74 and 75-160 in Escherichia coli. In contrast to the complete recombinant Bet v 1, the fragments showed almost no allergenicity and exhibited random coil conformation as analyzed by circular dichroism. Both nonanaphylactic fragments induced proliferation of human Bet v 1-specific T cell clones, indicating that they harbored all dominant T cell epitopes and therefore may be considered as a basis for the development of a safe and specific T cell immunotherapy.

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