Characterization of PR-10 genes from eight Betula species and detection of Bet v 1 isoforms in birch pollen

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Background - Bet v 1 is an important cause of hay fever in northern Europe. Bet v 1 isoforms from the European white birch (Betula pendula) have been investigated extensively, but the allergenic potency of other birch species is unknown. The presence of Bet v 1 and closely related PR-10 genes in the genome was established by amplification and sequencing of alleles from eight birch species that represent the four subgenera within the genus Betula. Q-TOF LC-MSE was applied to identify which PR-10/Bet v 1 genes are actually expressed in pollen and to determine the relative abundances of individual isoforms in the pollen proteome. Results - All examined birch species contained several PR-10 genes. In total, 134 unique sequences were recovered. Sequences were attributed to different genes or pseudogenes that were, in turn, ordered into seven subfamilies. Five subfamilies were common to all birch species. Genes of two subfamilies were expressed in pollen, while each birch species expressed a mixture of isoforms with at least four different isoforms. Isoforms that were similar to isoforms with a high IgE-reactivity (Bet v 1a =PR-10.01A01) were abundant in all species except B. lenta, while the hypoallergenic isoform Bet v 1d (=PR-10.01B01) was only found in B. pendula and its closest relatives. Conclusions - Q-TOF LC-MSE allows efficient screening of Bet v 1 isoforms by determining the presence and relative abundance of these isoforms in pollen. B. pendula contains a Bet v 1-mixture in which isoforms with a high and low IgE-reactivity are both abundant. With the possible exception of B. lenta, isoforms identical or very similar to those with a high IgE-reactivity were found in the pollen proteome of all examined birch species. Consequently, these species are also predicted to be allergenic with regard to Bet v 1 related allergies
Original languageEnglish
Article number24
Number of pages15
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • pathogenesis-related proteins
  • in-situ hybridization
  • major apple allergen
  • epitope analysis
  • mass-spectrometry
  • cross-reactivity
  • ige reactivity
  • potential use
  • cdna cloning
  • bet-v-1

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