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Amaranthaceae Pollens: Review of an Emerging Allergy in the Mediterranean Area


M Villalba,1 R Barderas,1 S Mas,1 C Colás,2 E Batanero,1 R Rodríguez1

1Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular I, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
2Hospital Clínico Universitario "Lozano Blesa", Zaragoza, Spain

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2014; Vol. 24(6): 371-381



The Amaranthaceae family is composed of about 180 genera and 2500 species. These common weeds have become increasingly relevant as triggers of allergy in the last few years, as they are able to rapidly colonize salty and arid soils in extensive desert areas. The genera Chenopodium, Salsola, and Amaranthus are the major sources of pollinosis from the Amaranthaceae family in southern Europe, western United States, and semidesert areas of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iran. In Spain, Salsola kali is one of the most relevant causes of pollinosis, together with olive and grasses.
To date, 9 Amaranthaceae pollen allergens from Chenopodium album, Salsola kali, and Amaranthus retroflexus have been described and are listed in the International Union of Immunological Societies allergen nomenclature database. The major allergens of Amaranthaceae pollen belong to the pectin methylesterase, Ole e 1–like, and profilin panallergen families, whereas the minor allergens belong to the cobalaminindependent
methionine synthase and polcalcin panallergen families. These relevant allergens have been characterized physicochemically, and immunologically at different levels. Recombinant forms, allergenic fusion recombinant proteins, and hypoallergenic derivatives of these allergens have been expressed in bacteria and yeast and compared with their natural proteins from pollen. In this review, we provide an extensive overview of Amaranthaceae pollen allergens, focusing on their physicochemical, and immunological
properties and on their clinical significance in allergic patients. We also review studies where these recombinant allergens and their hypoallergenic derivatives have been used in clinical diagnosis and their potential use in personalized therapy.

Key words: Pollinosis. Amaranthaceae. Recombinant allergen. Cross-reactivity.