Lipid-transfer protein is the major maize allergen maintaining IgE-binding activity after cooking at 100 degrees C, as demonstrated in anaphylactic patients and patients with positive double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge results.J Allergy Clin Immunol 2003; 112(4):775-83JA
In a previous study a 9-kd lipid-transfer protein (LTP) was identified as the major allergen of raw maize in a population of 22 anaphylactic patients. However, the stability of this protein in cooked maize is unknown.
We investigated the allergenicity of 5 maize hybrids and its modification after different thermal treatments by using sera from anaphylactic patients and patients with positive double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenges.
Five maize hybrids were extracted by using different methods, obtaining the water-soluble, zein, total zein, glutelin, and total protein fractions. The IgE-binding capacity of the different extracts, both raw and after thermal treatment, was investigated by means of SDS-PAGE immunoblotting. A 9-kd heat-stable allergen was purified by means of HPLC and sequenced. Changes in its secondary structure during and after heating from 25 degrees C to 100 degrees C were monitored by means of circular dichroism.
All raw maize hybrids showed similar protein and IgE-binding profiles. The SDS-PAGE of all the heat-treated hybrids demonstrated a decreased number of stained bands in respect to the raw samples. The IgE immunoblotting demonstrated that the major allergen of the water-soluble, total zein, total protein, and glutelin fractions was a 9-kd protein identified by means of amino acid sequence as an LTP and a sub-tilisin-chymotrypsin inhibitor (in total zein fraction). The IgE-binding capacity of this 9-kd protein remained unchanged after thermal treatments, even though circular dichroism demonstrated an altered secondary structure.
Maize LTP maintains its IgE-binding capacity after heat treatment, thus being the most eligible candidate for a causative role in severe anaphylactic reactions to both raw and cooked maize.