[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The recognition of conformational epitopes on respiratory allergens by IgE Abs is a key event in allergic inflammation. We report a molecular strategy for the conversion of allergens into vaccines with reduced allergenic activity, which is based on the reassembly of non-IgE-reactive fragments in the form of mosaic proteins. This evolution process is exemplified for timothy grass pollen-derived Phl p 2, a major allergen for more than 200 million allergic patients. In a first step, the allergen was disrupted into peptide fragments lacking IgE reactivity. cDNAs coding for these peptides were reassembled in altered order and expressed as a recombinant mosaic molecule. The mosaic molecule had lost the three-dimensional structure, the IgE reactivity, and allergenic activity of the wild-type allergen, but it induced high levels of allergen-specific IgG Abs upon immunization. These IgG Abs crossreacted with group 2 allergens from other grass species and inhibited allergic patients' IgE binding to the wild-type allergen. The mosaic strategy is a general strategy for the reduction of allergenic activity of protein allergens and can be used to convert harmful allergens into safe vaccines.
The Journal of Immunology 11/2008; 181(7):4864-73. · 5.52 Impact Factor