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Antigenic cross-reactivity has been described between the venom allergen (antigen 5) and mammalian testis proteins. Based on an allergen database we have previously shown that allergens can be represented by allergen motifs. A motif group was found containing venom antigen 5 sequences from different vespids. Using an optimized amino acid profile based on antigen 5 sequences for searching cross-reactive proteins, three human semen proteins belonging to the family of cysteine-rich secretory proteins (hCRISP) were found in the Swiss Protein database. To analyze antigenic cross-reactivity between antigen 5 and hCRISPs, antigen 5 from yellow jacket venom (Ves v 5) and two hCRISPs (CRISP-2 and -3) were chosen and produced as recombinant proteins in E. coli. A correlation was found between antibodies reacting with rVes v 5 and rhCRISP-2, -3 in a small human sera population indicating the presence of cross-reactive antibodies in human serum. Using intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg), a therapeutic multidonor IgG preparation, cross-reactive antibodies were isolated that recognize rVes v 5, hCRISP-2 and -3 suggesting the presence of common epitopes between Ves v 5 and hCRISPs. However this cross-reactivity seems not to be linked to allergy to wasp venom as we could show no correlation between increasing CAP-class IgE level to wasp venom and IgG to sperm extract and hCRISPs. These data suggest that higher sensitization to wasp venom does not induce more antibodies against autoantigens and might not represent a higher risk to develop autoantibodies leading to infertility.


Lorenz Müller, Monique Vogel, Michael Stadler, Renato Truffer, Eliane Rohner, Beda M Stadler. Sensitization to wasp venom does not induce autoantibodies leading to infertility. Molecular immunology. 2008 Aug;45(14):3775-85

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PMID: 18632155

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