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Isolation of cypress gibberellin-regulated protein: Analysis of its structural features and IgE binding competition with homologous allergens

Tuppo, Lisa, Alessandri, Claudia, Giangrieco, Ivana, Ciancamerla, Michela, Rafaiani, Claudia, Tamburrini, Maurizio, Ciardiello, Maria Antonietta, Mari, Adriano
Molecular immunology 2019 v.114 pp. 189-195
Cryptomeria japonica, Cupressus sempervirens, allergenicity, allergens, chromatography, circular dichroism spectroscopy, cross reaction, epitopes, hypersensitivity, immunoglobulin E, mass spectrometry, molecular weight, patients, peaches, pollen, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, pomegranates, sequence analysis
The presence in cypress pollen of an important allergen, belonging to the gibberellin-regulated protein (GRP) family, has been suggested for many years. However, it has never been isolated and sometimes the homologous peach allergen, Pru p 7, has been used as a surrogate to perform immunological investigations. The aim of this study has been the isolation and molecular characterization of the GRP contained in the Cupressus sempervirens pollen. This protein, named Cypmaclein, has been purified from the natural source using conventional biochemical methods consisting in different chromatographic separations. Cypmaclein has been identified by direct protein sequencing of the N-terminal region and of internal fragments of the molecule. In SDS-PAGE, its apparent molecular mass is slightly higher than that of Pru p 7. Nevertheless, the mass spectrometry experiments reveal that the exact molecular mass of Cypmaclein (6821.88 Da) is very close to that of Pru p 7 (6909.90 Da). Two regions of Cypmaclein have been sequenced providing 50% of its primary structure. A high overall sequence identity of Cypmaclein with all the analyzed GRP has been observed, although in the N-terminal region the high identity is limited to the homolog of Cryptomeria japonica. In circular dichroism experiments Cypmaclein produced a spectrum overlapping that of Pru p 7. However, the comparative analysis of Cypmaclein, Pru p 7 and Pun g 7 IgE reactivity revealed a behavior that was not completely overlapping, thus suggesting that the IgE epitopes are only partially shared. In single point highest inhibition achievable assays performed with the FABER test, Cypmaclein efficiently competed with the allergenic peach and pomegranate GRP in the binding of specific IgE of patients sensitized to Pru p 7. In conclusion, the natural cypress pollen GRP has been isolated for the first time, its structural features have been investigated and its cross-reactivity with Pru p 7 and Pun g 7 has been demonstrated. This protein is now available for further investigations aimed at understanding its clinical relevance in the allergy to cypress pollen. In addition, the prevalence of sensitization directly to Cypmaclein, and not limited to the homologs, can be defined.