Are Physicochemical Properties Shaping the Allergenic Potency of Animal Allergens?

Joana Costa*, Caterina Villa, Kitty Verhoeckx, Tanja Cirkovic-Velickovic, Denise Schrama, Paola Roncada, Pedro M. Rodrigues, Cristian Piras, Laura Martín-Pedraza, Linda Monaci, Elena Molina, Gabriel Mazzucchelli, Isabel Mafra, Roberta Lupi, Daniel Lozano-Ojalvo, Colette Larré, Julia Klueber, Eva Gelencser, Cristina Bueno-Diaz, Araceli Diaz-PeralesSara Benedé, Simona Lucia Bavaro, Annette Kuehn, Karin Hoffmann-Sommergruber, Thomas Holzhauser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


Key determinants for the development of an allergic response to an otherwise ‘harmless’ food protein involve different factors like the predisposition of the individual, the timing, the dose, the route of exposure, the intrinsic properties of the allergen, the food matrix (e.g. lipids) and the allergen modification by food processing. Various physicochemical parameters can have an impact on the allergenicity of animal proteins. Following our previous review on how physicochemical parameters shape plant protein allergenicity, the same analysis was proceeded here for animal allergens. We found that each parameter can have variable effects, ranging on an axis from allergenicity enhancement to resolution, depending on its nature and the allergen. While glycosylation and phosphorylation are common, both are not universal traits of animal allergens. High molecular structures can favour allergenicity, but structural loss and uncovering hidden epitopes can also have a similar impact. We discovered that there are important knowledge gaps in regard to physicochemical parameters shaping protein allergenicity both from animal and plant origin, mainly because the comparability of the data is poor. Future biomolecular studies of exhaustive, standardised design together with strong validation part in the clinical context, together with data integration model systems will be needed to unravel causal relationships between physicochemical properties and the basis of protein allergenicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-36
JournalClinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2022


  • Allergen integrity
  • Allergenicity
  • Animal allergens
  • Food processing
  • Protein families


Dive into the research topics of 'Are Physicochemical Properties Shaping the Allergenic Potency of Animal Allergens?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this