Author(s): Bowyer P, Fraczek M, Denning DW
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Allergy is a common debilitating and occasionally life threatening condition. The fungal kingdom contains a number of species that produce a wide range of well defined protein allergens although the vast majority of fungal species have unknown allergenic potential. The recent genome sequencing of a variety of fungi provides the opportunity to assess the occurrence of allergen orthologues across the fungal kingdom. Here we use comparative genomics to survey the occurrence of allergen orthologues in fungi. RESULTS: A database of 82 allergen sequences was compiled and used to search 22 fungal genomes. Additionally we were able to model allergen structure for representative members of several highly homologous allergen orthologue classes. We found that some allergen orthologue classes that had predicted structural congruence to allergens and allergen epitopes were ubiquitous in all fungi. Other allergen orthologues classes were less well conserved and may not possess conserved allergen epitope orthologues in all fungi. A final group of allergen orthologues, including the major allergens Asp f 1 and Alt a 1, appear to be present in only a limited number of species. CONCLUSION: These results imply that most fungi may possess proteins that have potential to be allergens or to cross react with allergens. This, together with the observation that important allergens such as Asp f 1 are limited to genera or species, has significant implications for understating fungal sensitization, and interpreting diagnosis and management of fungal allergy.
This article was published in BMC Genomics
and referenced in Fungal Genomics & Biology