Separate studies have reported spina bifida patients to be especially allergic to proteins of 27 and 23 kDa found in the serum of centrifuged natural rubber latex. An insoluble latex protein located on the surface of small rubber particles, Hev b 3, has similarly been found to be allergenic to spina bifida patients. In this study, internal amino acid sequences of Hev b 3 showed similarity to the published sequences for the 27- and 23-kDa latex proteins. The latter allergens are hence identified as Hev b 3. Determination of the molecular weight of Hev b 3 revealed various species of 22-23 kDa. The consistent gaps of about 266 Da observed between various forms of the intact protein suggest that the protein undergoes post-translational modification. To determine whether Hev b 3 also occurs in a soluble form in the latex serum, its presence in molecular-filtered serum was checked by ELISA and Western blot. The results showed Hev b 3 to be largely absent in the C-serum from fresh latex. The protein is therefore insoluble in its native state. However, a small amount of the solubilized protein was detected in ammonia-stabilized latex (commonly used in the manufacture of latex products).
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