Schulmeister U, Hochwallner H, Swoboda I, Focke-Tejkl M, Geller B, Nystrand M, Härlin A, Thalhamer J, Scheiblhofer S, Keller W, Niggemann B, Quirce S, Ebner C, Mari A, Pauli G, Herz U, Valenta R, Spitzauer S - 37306 N - J Immunol 2009 ; 182(11) : 7019-29.

Cloning, expression, and mapping of allergenic determinants of alphaS1-casein, a major cow's milk allergen

Milk is one of the first components introduced into human diet. It also represents one of the first allergen sources, which induces IgE-mediated allergies in childhood ranging from gastrointestinal, skin, and respiratory manifestations to severe life-threatening manifestations, such as anaphylaxis. Here we isolated a cDNA coding for a major cow's milk allergen, alphaS1-casein, from a bovine mammary gland cDNA library with allergic patients' IgE Abs. Recombinant alphaS1-casein was expressed in Escherichia coli, purified, and characterized by circular dichroism as a folded protein. IgE epitopes of alphaS1-casein were determined with recombinant fragments and synthetic peptides spanning the alphaS1-casein sequence using microarrayed components and sera from 66 cow's milk-sensitized patients. The allergenic activity of ralphaS1-casein and the alphaS1-casein-derived peptides was determined using rat basophil leukemia cells transfected with human FcepsilonRI, which had been loaded with the patients' serum IgE. Our results demonstrate that ralphaS1-casein as well as alphaS1-casein-derived peptides exhibit IgE reactivity, but mainly the intact ralphaS1-casein induced strong basophil degranulation. These results suggest that primarily intact alphaS1-casein or larger IgE-reactive portions thereof are responsible for IgE-mediated symptoms of food allergy. Recombinant alphaS1-casein as well as alphaS1-casein-derived peptides may be used in clinical studies to further explore pathomechanisms of food allergy as well as for the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for milk allergy