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Mini Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.02600

Keeping Allergen Names Clear and Defined

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Div. of Allergy and Immunology, National Jewish Health (United States), United States
  • 2Indoor Biotechnologies (United States), United States
  • 3Dept. of Infection & Immunity, Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH), Luxembourg
  • 4Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
  • 5Centre for Children's Health Research, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
  • 6National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), United States
  • 7Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH), Luxembourg
  • 8Department of Infection and Immunity, Luxembourg Institute of Health, Luxembourg
  • 9Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine, Division of Tropical Health and Medicine, James Cook University, Australia
  • 10Department of Biosciences, University of Salzburg, Austria
  • 11Division of Immunology and Allergy, Department of Medicine, Solna, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
  • 12Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine of the German Social Accident Insurance (IPA), Germany
  • 13Department of Food Science & Technology, Food Allergy Research and Resource Program,, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, United States

The World Health Organization/International Union of Immunological Societies (WHO/IUIS) Allergen Nomenclature Sub-Committee was established in 1986 by leading allergists to standardize names given to proteins that cause IgE-mediated reactions in humans. The Sub-Committee’s objective is to assign unique names to allergens based on a critical analysis of confidentially submitted biochemical and clinical data from researchers, often prior to publication to preserve consistency. The Sub-Committee maintains and revises the database as the understanding of allergens evolves. This report summarizes recent developments that led to updates in classification of cockroach group 1 and 5 allergens to animal as well as environmental and occupational allergens. Interestingly, routes, doses and frequency of exposure often affects allergenicity as does the biochemical properties of the proteins and similarity to self and other proteins. Information required by the Sub-Committee now is more extensive than previously as technology has improved. Identification of new allergens requires identification of the amino acid sequence and physical characteristics of the protein as well as demonstration of IgE binding from subjects verified by described clinical histories, proof of the presence of the protein in relevant exposure substances, and demonstration of biological activity (skin prick tests, activation of basophils or mast cells). Names are assigned based on taxonomy with the abbreviation of genus and species and assignment of a number, which reflects the priority of discovery, but more often now, the relationships with homologous proteins in related species.

Keywords: Injection, Dermal, Food, airway, diagnostic, Taxonomy, WHO/IUIS, allergen nomenclature

Received: 29 Jul 2019; Accepted: 21 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Chan, Pomes, Hilger, Davies, Mueller, Kuehn, Lopata, Gadermaier, Van Hage, Raulf and Goodman. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Richard E. Goodman, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Department of Food Science & Technology, Food Allergy Research and Resource Program,, Lincoln, United States,