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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 543195, 19 pages
Review Article

Current Overview of Allergens of Plant Pathogenesis Related Protein Families

Department of Biophysics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi 110029, India

Received 22 October 2013; Accepted 17 December 2013; Published 16 February 2014

Academic Editors: B. Cardaba and A. J. Chauhan

Copyright © 2014 Mau Sinha et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Pathogenesis related (PR) proteins are one of the major sources of plant derived allergens. These proteins are induced by the plants as a defense response system in stress conditions like microbial and insect infections, wounding, exposure to harsh chemicals, and atmospheric conditions. However, some plant tissues that are more exposed to environmental conditions like UV irradiation and insect or fungal attacks express these proteins constitutively. These proteins are mostly resistant to proteases and most of them show considerable stability at low pH. Many of these plant pathogenesis related proteins are found to act as food allergens, latex allergens, and pollen allergens. Proteins having similar amino acid sequences among the members of PR proteins may be responsible for cross-reactivity among allergens from diverse plants. This review analyzes the different pathogenesis related protein families that have been reported as allergens. Proteins of these families have been characterized in regard to their biological functions, amino acid sequence, and cross-reactivity. The three-dimensional structures of some of these allergens have also been evaluated to elucidate the antigenic determinants of these molecules and to explain the cross-reactivity among the various allergens.