Epitope mapping of Der p 2, a clinically important dust-mite allergen is the first step in designing immunotherapy hypoallergen vaccine candidates. Twenty-one single alanine mutants of Der p 2 were generated and their secondary structure was analysed using circular dichroism spectra. Only one mutant, K96A resulted in a misfolded protein. All mutants were tested for serum IgE reactivity using serum from dust mite allergic individuals by immuno dot-blots. Mutations to five residues, N10, E25, K77, K96 and E102 consistently showed reduced IgE reactions compared to wild-type Der p 2, and therefore these residues constitute the major IgE epitopes of Der p 2. Two mutants with consistent low IgE binding, K96A and E102A, were subsequently evaluated as hypoallergen candidates. IgG antibodies raised in mice against both mutants could inhibit human IgE-binding to WT Der p 2. Both mutants had intact T-cell epitopes as they were able to stimulate peripheral blood mononuclear cell proliferation similar to WT Der p 2. However, a switch in Th1:Th2 cytokine profile was not observed. In summary, we have identified the major conformational epitopes of Der p 2, and evaluated two Der p 2 hypoallergen vaccine candidates for immunotherapy.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.