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Original Article


Allergenicity of Recombinant Profilins From Japanese Hop, Humulus japonicus


KY Jeong,1 IS Han,1 SY Choi,1 JH Lee,1 JS Lee,2 CS Hong,1 JW Park1

1Department of Internal Medicine and Institute of Allergy, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
2Center for Immunology and Pathology, Korean National Institute of Health, Osong, Korea

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2013; Vol. 23(5): 345-350



Background and objective: Pollen from Japanese hop, Humulus japonicus, is a major cause of pollinosis in Korea. Profilin (15 kDa) from Humulus scandens has been associated with strong allergenicity in allergic Chinese patients. Profilin has also been detected in pollen extract from Korean Japanese hop by proteomic analysis and immunoglobulin (Ig) E immunoblotting. However, the allergenicity of allergens isolated from Japanese hop has not been investigated in Korean individuals. This study was undertaken to produce recombinant profilin from Japanese hop and evaluate its allergenicity.

Methods: Complementary DNA sequences encoding 2 isoallergens were cloned by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and their recombinant proteins expressed in Escherichia coli. The IgE-binding reactivities of the recombinant allergens were assessed by enzymelinked immunosorbent assay.

Results: The deduced amino acid sequences of the H japonicus profilins were 68.7% to 80.2% homologous with profilins from mugwort (Art v 4), ragweed (Amb a 14), and birch (Bet v 2). Two isoallergens of profilin from H japonicus were 78.2% identical. Notably, the cDNA sequences of these 2 isoallergens were 98.5% (AY268422) and 98.7% (AY268424) identical to those of H scandens. Serum samples from Japanese hop–sensitized individuals showed 12.9% IgE reactivity to both of the recombinant profilin isoallergens from H japonicus, indicating that profilin may not be an allergenically dominant component of Japanese hop pollen. The recombinant profilins showed only
0% to 9.3% inhibition of the crude extract.

Conclusions: Two isoallergens of profilin that are highly conserved with those of mugwort, ragweed, and birch were identified in H japonicus. Profilins from Japanese hop pollen may play a minor role in the pathogenesis of pollinosis in Koreans.

Key words: Allergen. Humulus japonicus. Pollen allergens. Profilin. Recombinant allergens. Recombinant profilin