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1.  Allergens as Immuno-Modulatory Proteins: the cat dander protein Fel d 1 enhances Toll-like receptor activation by lipid ligands 
Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)  2013;191(4):10.4049/jimmunol.1300284.
Allergic responses can be triggered by structurally diverse allergens. Most allergens are proteins yet extensive research has not revealed how they initiate the allergic response and why the myriad of other inhaled proteins do not. Amongst these allergens, the cat secretoglobulin protein Fel d 1, is the major allergen and responsible for severe allergic responses. In this study we show that like the mite dust allergen Der p 2, Fel d 1 substantially enhances signalling through the innate receptors TLR4 and TLR2. In contrast to Der p 2 however, Fel d 1 does not act by mimicking the TLR4 co-receptor MD2 and is not able to bind stably to the TLR4/MD2 complex in vitro. Fel d 1 does however, bind to the TLR4 agonist lipopolysaccharide, suggesting that a lipid transfer mechanism may be involved in the Fel d 1 enhancement of TLR signalling. We also show that the dog allergen Can f 6, a member of a distinct class of lipocalin allergens, has very similar properties to Fel d 1. We propose that Fel d 1 and Can f 6 belong to a group of allergen immunomodulatory proteins (IMPs) that enhance innate immune signalling and promote airway hypersensitivity reactions in diseases such as asthma.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1300284
PMCID: PMC3836235  PMID: 23878318
4.  In Vitro Evolution of Allergy Vaccine Candidates, with Maintained Structure, but Reduced B Cell and T Cell Activation Capacity 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e24558.
Allergy and asthma to cat (Felis domesticus) affects about 10% of the population in affluent countries. Immediate allergic symptoms are primarily mediated via IgE antibodies binding to B cell epitopes, whereas late phase inflammatory reactions are mediated via activated T cell recognition of allergen-specific T cell epitopes. Allergen-specific immunotherapy relieves symptoms and is the only treatment inducing a long-lasting protection by induction of protective immune responses. The aim of this study was to produce an allergy vaccine designed with the combined features of attenuated T cell activation, reduced anaphylactic properties, retained molecular integrity and induction of efficient IgE blocking IgG antibodies for safer and efficacious treatment of patients with allergy and asthma to cat. The template gene coding for rFel d 1 was used to introduce random mutations, which was subsequently expressed in large phage libraries. Despite accumulated mutations by up to 7 rounds of iterative error-prone PCR and biopanning, surface topology and structure was essentially maintained using IgE-antibodies from cat allergic patients for phage enrichment. Four candidates were isolated, displaying similar or lower IgE binding, reduced anaphylactic activity as measured by their capacity to induce basophil degranulation and, importantly, a significantly lower T cell reactivity in lymphoproliferative assays compared to the original rFel d 1. In addition, all mutants showed ability to induce blocking antibodies in immunized mice.The approach presented here provides a straightforward procedure to generate a novel type of allergy vaccines for safer and efficacious treatment of allergic patients.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0024558
PMCID: PMC3172221  PMID: 21931754
5.  Production, crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis of the allergen Can f 2 from Canis familiaris  
The recombinant form of the allergen Can f 2 from C. familiaris was produced, isolated and crystallized in two different forms. Preliminary X-ray diffraction analyses are reported for the two crystal forms of Can f 2.
The allergen Can f 2 from dog (Canis familiaris) present in saliva, dander and fur is an important cause of allergic sensitization worldwide. Here, the production, isolation, crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis of two crystal forms of recombinant Can f 2 are reported. The first crystal form belonged to space group C222, with unit-cell parameters a = 68.7, b = 77.3, c = 65.1 Å, and diffracted to 1.55 Å resolution, while the second crystal form belonged to space group C2, with unit-cell parameters a = 75.7, b = 48.3, c = 68.7 Å, β = 126.5°, and diffracted to 2.1 Å resolution. Preliminary data analysis indicated the presence of a single molecule in the asymmetric unit for both crystal forms.
doi:10.1107/S1744309109010884
PMCID: PMC2675586  PMID: 19407378
Can f 2; Canis familiaris; allergens
6.  Peptide immunotherapy in allergic asthma generates IL-10–dependent immunological tolerance associated with linked epitope suppression 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2009;206(7):1535-1547.
Treatment of patients with allergic asthma using low doses of peptides containing T cell epitopes from Fel d 1, the major cat allergen, reduces allergic sensitization and improves surrogate markers of disease. Here, we demonstrate a key immunological mechanism, linked epitope suppression, associated with this therapeutic effect. Treatment with selected epitopes from a single allergen resulted in suppression of responses to other (“linked”) epitopes within the same molecule. This phenomenon was induced after peptide immunotherapy in human asthmatic subjects and in a novel HLA-DR1 transgenic mouse model of asthma. Tracking of allergen-specific T cells using DR1 tetramers determined that suppression was associated with the induction of interleukin (IL)-10+ T cells that were more abundant than T cells specific for the single-treatment peptide and was reversed by anti–IL-10 receptor administration. Resolution of airway pathophysiology in this model was associated with reduced recruitment, proliferation, and effector function of allergen-specific Th2 cells. Our results provide, for the first time, in vivo evidence of linked epitope suppression and IL-10 induction in both human allergic disease and a mouse model designed to closely mimic peptide therapy in humans.
doi:10.1084/jem.20082901
PMCID: PMC2715096  PMID: 19528258
7.  Crystallization and preliminary crystallographic data of a Fel d 1 (1+2) construct corresponding to the major allergen from cat 
Fel d 1, a major allergen from cat, has been expressed, purified and crystallized. The crystals belong to space group P1 and diffract to 1 Å resolution.
The domestic cat (Felis domesticus) is one of the most important causes of allergic disease worldwide. A homologue of the major allergen Fel d 1 was created by linking the two chains that compose the protein. Fel d 1 (1+2) was expressed in Escherichia coli and subsequently purified using three chromatographic steps. Crystals of Fel d 1 (1+2) were obtained using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method in 22.5% PEG 3350, 0.5 M CaCl2. The crystals belong to space group P1, with unit-cell parameters a = 38.5, b = 42.9, c = 49.0 Å, α = 70.7, β = 80.5, γ = 81.5°, and diffract to 1.6 Å resolution.
doi:10.1107/S1744309105001776
PMCID: PMC1952269  PMID: 16511003
Fel d 1; cat allergens
8.  Staphylococcal Surface Display of Immunoglobulin A (IgA)- and IgE-Specific In Vitro-Selected Binding Proteins (Affibodies) Based on Staphylococcus aureus Protein A 
An expression system designed for cell surface display of hybrid proteins on Staphylococcus carnosus has been evaluated for the display of Staphylococcus aureus protein A (SpA) domains, normally binding to immunoglobulin G (IgG) Fc but here engineered by combinatorial protein chemistry to yield SpA domains, denoted affibodies, with new binding specificities. Such affibodies, with human IgA or IgE binding activity, have previously been selected from a phage library, based on an SpA domain. In this study, these affibodies have been genetically introduced in monomeric or dimeric forms into chimeric proteins expressed on the surface of S. carnosus by using translocation signals from a Staphylococcus hyicus lipase construct together with surface-anchoring regions of SpA. The recombinant surface proteins, containing the IgA- or IgE-specific affibodies, were demonstrated to be expressed as full-length proteins, localized and properly exposed at the cell surface of S. carnosus. Furthermore, these chimeric receptors were found to be functional, since recombinant S. carnosus cells were shown to have gained IgA and IgE binding capacity, respectively. In addition, a positive effect in terms of IgA and IgE reactivity was observed when dimeric versions of the affibodies were present. Potential applications for recombinant bacteria with redirected binding specificity in their surface proteins are discussed.
PMCID: PMC99751  PMID: 10473426
9.  The immunoglobulin-like modules Cε3 and α2 are the minimal units necessary for human IgE-FcεRI interaction 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1999;103(11):1571-1578.
Atopic allergy is a genetically determined immunodisorder that affects almost 20% of the population worldwide. Immediate symptoms of type I allergy are caused by the release of biologic mediators from effector cells induced by IgE-allergen complexes that cross-link the high-affinity receptor for IgE (FcεRI). Chronic disease manifestations result from allergen-specific T-cell activation, a process that is enhanced when allergens are presented via FcεRI-bound IgE. We report the baculovirus expression, as soluble recombinant proteins, of the minimal units required for human IgE and FcεRI interaction: Cε3 represents the third constant domain of the IgE heavy chain, and α2 is the membrane-proximal Ig-like module from FcεRIα. Native overlay experiments showed binding of human FcεRIα to recombinant Cε3 and of natural or recombinant human IgE to recombinant α2. Moreover, recombinant Cε3 inhibited binding of natural IgE antibodies to α2, and preincubation of human IgE with α2 inhibited anti-IgE–triggered histamine release from human basophils. Isolated Cε3 and α2 can now be used for the molecular and structural analysis of the IgE-FcεRI interaction, as well as for diagnostic and therapeutic applications.
PMCID: PMC408375  PMID: 10359566

Results 1-9 (9)