Sequence analysis and antigenic cross-reactivity of a venom allergen, antigen 5, from hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets.

Abstract

Ag 5 is a major allergen of vespid venom. The complete amino acid sequences of Ag 5 from two species each of hornets (Dolichovespula arenaria and maculata), wasps (Polistes annularis and exclamans), and yellow jackets (Vespula maculifrons and vulgaris) have been determined by amino acid sequencing and/or cDNA cloning. The sequence data reveal several conserved and variable regions for vespid Ag 5. The conserved regions show greater sequence similarity than do the less conserved regions to a family of proteins from human, mouse, and rat testis and to a class of pathogenesis-related proteins from tobacco and tomato leaves. Tests in the murine system for both T and B cell responses demonstrate a high degree of cross-reactivity of hornet Ag 5 with wasp or yellow jacket Ag 5 and a low degree of cross-reactivity of yellow jacket Ag 5 with wasp Ag 5. This pattern of cross-reactivity is in the same order as their sequence similarity.

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