The major allergen Der p 2 is a cholesterol binding protein

August 27, 2020


The major allergen Der p 2 is a cholesterol binding protein


Kavita Reginald & Fook Tim Chew




Scientific Reports volume 9, Article number: 1556 (2019)


Der p 2 is a major dust mite allergen and >80% of mite allergic individuals have specific IgE to this allergen. Although it is well characterized in terms of allergenicity, there is still some ambiguity in terms of its biological function. Three-dimensional structural analysis of Der p 2 and its close homologues indicate the presence of a hydrophobic cavity which can potentially bind to lipid molecules. In this study, we aimed to identify the potential ligand of Der p 2. Using a liposome pulldown assay, we show that recombinant Der p 2 binds to liposomes prepared with exogenous cholesterol in a dose dependent fashion. Next, an ELISA based assay using immobilized lipids was used to study binding specificities of other lipid molecules. Cholesterol was the preferred ligand of Der p 2 among 11 different lipids tested. Two homologues of Der p 2, Der f 2 and Der f 22 also bound to cholesterol. Further, using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), we confirmed that cholesterol is the natural ligand of Der p 2. Three amino acid residues of Der p 2, V104, V106 and V110 are possible cholesterol binding sites, as alanine mutations of these residues showed a significant decrease in binding (p < 0.05) compared to wild-type Der p 2. These results provide the first direct experimental evidence that Der p 2 binds to cholesterol.




Der p 2, dust mite allergen, cholesterol, lipids, liposomes, cholesterol