Morus alba (white mulberry) pollen is an aero-allergen source that can trigger allergic diseases. Cobalamin-independent methionine synthase (MetE) in M. alba pollen has been proved to be one of the major allergens for some patients living in Istanbul (Turkey). The aim of the present study was to carry out recombinant production and identification of MetE (Mor a 2), a novel allergen from M. alba pollen. The IgE binding reactivity of rMor a 2 produced for the first time was evaluated and some structural features were investigated by in silico methods to better understand its immunogenicity.

Material and methods:
The gene encoding Mor a 2 was cloned in fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe ura4-D18h- strain, using the pSLF1073 vector. This is the first report of the production of recombinant pollen allergen in S. pombe. After the purification, immunoreactivity of rMor a 2 was confirmed by immunoblotting using sera of a patient allergic to M. alba pollen. Moreover, B-cell epitopes of rMor a 2 were predicted using various bioinformatic tools, namely Bioinformatics Predicted Antigenic Peptides, BepiPred 2.0 and Immune Epitope Database, whereas T-cell epitopes were estimated using NetMHCIIpan-3.2 and NetMHCII 2.3 servers.

The immunoblotting analysis yielded 11 of 11 positive reactions to rMor a 2. In silico predictions exerted seven B-cell epitopes (22-33, 384-394, 407-423, 547-553, 571-577, 671-678, 736-741) and seven T-cell epitopes (54-62, 161-170, 197-205, 347-358, 622-630, 657-665, 756-764).

These findings may support the use of rMor a 2 in the diagnosis and treatment of allergic diseases associated with M. alba and/or MetE.

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