Animal lipocalin allergens.

October 01, 2012 By:
  • Hilger C
  • Kuehn A
  • Hentges F.

Lipocalins represent the most important group of inhalant animal allergens. For some of them, three-dimensional protein structures have been resolved, but their functions are still elusive. Lipocalins generally display a low sequence identity between family members. The characterization of new lipocalin allergens has revealed however that some of them display a high sequence identity to lipocalins from another species. They constitute a new group of potentially cross-reactive molecules which, in addition to serum albumins, may contribute to allergic cross-reactions between animal dander of different species. However, the clinical relevance of cross-reactivity needs to be assessed. Further studies are needed to understand which of these animal lipocalins are the primary allergens and which are cross-reacting molecules. The use of single, well characterized allergens for diagnosis will allow the identification of the sensitizing animal, which is a prerequisite for specific immunotherapy.

2012 Oct. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep.12(5):438-47.
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