Evaluation of IgE reactivity of active and thermally inactivated actinidin, a biomarker of kiwifruit allergy.Food Chem Toxicol 2012; 50(3-4):1013-8FC
Actinidin, an abundant cysteine protease from kiwifruit, is a specific biomarker of isolated allergy to kiwifruit. This study evaluates the IgE-binding properties of biologically active and thermally inactivated actinidin. Employing two different activity assays (caseinolytic assay and zymogram with gelatin) we showed that actinidin obtained from kiwifruit extract under native conditions represents a mixture of inactive and active enzyme. The structural integrity of actinidin was confirmed by SDS-PAGE, Edman degradation, mass fingerprint and Western blot with polyclonal antibodies. Although it was capable of inducing positive skin prick test reactions, we failed to detect IgE reactivity of active actinidin in Western blot with patient sera. Thermally inactivated actinidin exhibited IgE reactivity both in vivo and in vitro, indicating that heat processed kiwifruit products may induce clinical reactivity. These findings imply that apart from the allergenic epitopes on its surface, actinidin also contains hidden epitopes inside the protein which become accessible to IgE upon thermal treatment.