Boiled silkworm pupa is a traditional food in Asia, and patients with silkworm pupa food allergy are common in these regions. Still now only one allergen from silkworm, arginine kinase, has been identified. The purpose of this study was to identify novel food allergens in silkworm pupa by analyzing a protein extract after heat treatment. Heat treated extracts were examined by proteomic analysis. A 27-kDa glycoprotein was identified, expressed in Escherichia coli, and purified. IgE reactivity of the recombinant protein was investigated by ELISA. High molecular weight proteins (above 100 kDa) elicited increased IgE binding after heat treatment compared to that before heat treatment. The molecular identities of these proteins, however, could not be determined. IgE reactivity toward a 27-kDa glycoprotein was also increased after heating the protein extract. The recombinant protein was recognized by IgE antibodies from allergic subjects (33.3%). Glycation or aggregation of protein by heating may create new IgE binding epitopes. Heat stable allergens are shown to be important in silkworm allergy. Sensitization to the 27-kDa glycoprotein from silkworm may contribute to elevation of IgE to silkworm.
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