Influence of the carbohydrate moieties on the immunoreactivity and digestibility of the egg allergen ovomucoid

Sara Benedé, Rosina López-Fandiño, Marta Reche, Elena Molina, Iván López-Expósito

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24 Scopus citations


Background: Ovomucoid (OM) has two carbohydrate chains on each of the first and second domains and one in the third. The contribution of the covalently bound carbohydrate chains to the overall OM allergenicity is controversial. Another aspect directly related with the immunological properties of OM that has not been studied in depth is the importance of the carbohydrate chains on its digestibility. Objective: The aim of the study was to assess the involvement of the carbohydrate moieties of OM in its digestibility and allergenic properties. Methods: IgE-binding and basophil activation by glycosylated and enzymatically deglycosylated OM (dOM) were compared using blood from egg-allergic patients. The peptides obtained after digestion using a physiologically relevant model were identified by RP-HPLC-MS/MS and the IgE-binding of the resulting fragments was evaluated by DOT-Blot. Results: No structural changes were observed after deglycosylation of OM. 80% of the patients showed lower IgE binding to dOM as compared with OM and, in some patients, IgE reactivity could not be inhibited by pre-incubation with dOM. A subtle reduction in the percentage of activated basophils was observed when incubated with dOM as compared to OM. Following simulated digestion, dOM was more extensively degraded than OM, particularly during the gastric phase and both, OM and dOM, yielded, after the duodenal phase, immunoreactive fragments that were totally or partially coincident with previously described epitopes. Conclusion: & Clinical Relevance: this work demonstrated an enhanced IgE reactivity towards carbohydrate containing OM in some egg-allergic patients that could be attributed to cross-sensitization or sensitization to the glycosylated components. The carbohydrate chains contributed to an increased resistance to proteolysis, and thus, to its allergenic potency. Evaluation of the products of digestion of OM and dOM revealed the presence of high-frequency IgE-binding epitopes that could remain linked by disulphide bonds.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere80810
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
StatePublished - 14 Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


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