A complementary DNA encoding a pollen allergen from white birch (Betula verrucosa) that was isolated from a pollen complementary DNA library with serum immunoglobulin E from a birch pollen-allergic individual revealed significant sequence homology to profilins. The recombinant protein showed high affinity to poly-L-proline. Immunoglobulin E antibodies from allergic individuals bound to natural and recombinant birch profilin and also to human profilin. In addition, birch and human profilin induced histamine release from blood basophils of profilin-allergic individuals, but not of individuals sensitized to other plant allergens. The structural similarity of conserved proteins might therefore be responsible for maintaining immunoglobulin E antibody titers in type I allergy.

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