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      Various cross-reactivity of the grass pollen group 4 allergens: crystallographic study of the Bermuda grass isoallergen Cyn d 4.

      Acta Crystallographica Section D: Biological Crystallography

      chemistry, immunology, metabolism, Antigens, Plant, Cross Reactions, Crystallography, X-Ray, Cynodon, Epitopes, Humans, Pollen, Allergens

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          The structure of Cyn d 4, the group 4 allergen from Bermuda grass, is reported at 2.15 Å resolution and is the first crystal structure of a naturally isolated pollen allergen. A conserved N-terminal segment that is only present in the large isoallergens forms extensive interactions with surrounding residues and hence greatly enhances the structural stability of the protein. Cyn d 4 contains an FAD cofactor that is covalently linked to His88 and Cys152. To date, all identified bicovalent flavoproteins are oxidases and their substrates are either sugars or secondary metabolites. A deep large hydrophobic substrate-binding cleft is present. Thus, Cyn d 4 may be an oxidase that is involved in the biosynthesis of a pollen-specific metabolite. Cyn d 4 shares ~70% sequence identity with the Pooideae group 4 allergens. Various cross-reactivities between grass pollen group 4 allergens have previously been demonstrated using sera from allergic patients. The protein surface displays an unusually large number of positively charged clusters, reflecting the high pI of ~10. 38 decapeptides that cover the solvent-accessible sequences did not show any significant IgE-binding activity using sera with high Cyn d 4 reactivity from four patients, suggesting that the IgE epitopes of Cyn d 4 are predominantly conformational in nature. Several group 4 structures were then modelled and their potential cross-reactive and species-specific IgE epitopes were proposed.

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