Application of recombinant antigen 5 allergens from seven allergy-relevant Hymenoptera species in diagnostics

M. Schiener, B. Eberlein, C. Moreno-Aguilar, G. Pietsch, P. Serrano, M. McIntyre, L. Schwarze, D. Russkamp, T. Biedermann, E. Spillner, U. Darsow, M. Ollert*, C. B. Schmidt-Weber, S. Blank

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Hymenoptera stings can cause severe anaphylaxis in untreated venom-allergic patients. A correct diagnosis regarding the relevant species for immunotherapy is often hampered by clinically irrelevant cross-reactivity. In vespid venom allergy, cross-reactivity between venoms of different species can be a diagnostic challenge. To address immunological IgE cross-reactivity on molecular level, seven recombinant antigens 5 of the most important Vespoidea groups were assessed by different diagnostic setups. Methods: The antigens 5 of yellow jackets, hornets, European and American paper wasps, fire ants, white-faced hornets, and Polybia wasps were recombinantly produced in insect cells, immunologically and structurally characterized, and their sIgE reactivity assessed by ImmunoCAP, ELISA, cross-inhibition, and basophil activation test (BAT) in patients with yellow jacket or Polistes venom allergy of two European geographical areas. Results: All recombinant allergens were correctly folded and structural models and patient reactivity profiles suggested the presence of conserved and unique B-cell epitopes. All antigens 5 showed extensive cross-reactivity in sIgE analyses, inhibition assays, and BAT. This cross-reactivity was more pronounced in ImmunoCAP measurements with venom extracts than in sIgE analyses with recombinant antigens 5. Dose–response curves with the allergens in BAT allowed a differentiated individual dissection of relevant sensitization. Conclusions: Due to extensive cross-reactivity in various diagnostic settings, antigens 5 are inappropriate markers for differential sIgE diagnostics in vespid venom allergy. However, the newly available antigens 5 from further vespid species and the combination of recombinant allergen-based sIgE measurements with BAT represents a practicable way to diagnose clinically relevant sensitization in vespid venom allergy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-108
Number of pages11
JournalAllergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Hymenoptera venom allergy
  • antigen 5
  • basophil activation test
  • cross-reactivity
  • in vitro sIgE testing


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