[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT:
Allergies to certain fruits such as banana, avocado, chestnut and kiwi are described in 30-70% of latex-allergic patients. This association is attributed to the cross-reactivity between the major latex allergen hevein and hevein-like domains (HLDs) from fruit class I chitinases. We aimed to assess the extent of cross-reactivity between hevein and HLDs using sera from latex-allergic patients with and without plant food allergy. Hevein and HLDs of latex, banana, and avocado chitinases were expressed in Escherichia coli as fusion proteins with the maltose-binding protein and purified by affinity chromatography. IgE binding to these proteins was studied in sera from 59 latex-allergic patients and 20 banana-allergic patients without latex allergy by ELISA and ELISA inhibition. Additionally, 16,408 allergic patients' sera were tested for IgE binding to hevein, latex chitinase, and wheat germ agglutinin using an allergen microarray. Hevein-specific IgE was detected in 34/59 (58%) latex-allergic patients' sera. HLDs of latex, banana, and avocado chitinases were recognized by 21 (36%), 20 (34%), and 9 (15%) sera, respectively. In contrast, only one of 20 banana-allergic patients without latex allergy was sensitized to chitinase HLDs. In most tested latex-allergic patients' sera, IgE binding to hevein was only partially reduced by preincubation with HLDs. Among hevein-sensitized, latex-allergic patients, the percentage of plant food allergy (15/34 = 44%) was equal to latex-allergic patients without hevein sensitization (11/25 = 44%). In the general allergic population, 230 of 16,408 sera (1.4%) reacted to hevein and/or a hevein-like allergen. Of these, 128 sera showed an isolated sensitization to hevein, whereas only 17 bound to latex chitinase or wheat germ agglutinin without hevein sensitization. In conclusion, the IgE response to HLDs is elicited by hevein as sensitizing allergen in most cases. Despite considerable cross-reactivity between these allergens, no correlation between latex-associated plant food allergy and sensitization to hevein or HLDs was found.