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The major birch pollen allergen, Bet v 1, shows ribonuclease activity

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The major birch (Betula alba L.) pollen allergen, Bet v 1, has been shown to be homologous to pathogenesis-related proteins in a number of plants. Recently, it was demonstrated that a ginseng protein with high homology to an intracellular pathogenesis-related protein of parsley and to Bet v 1 is a ribonuclease (RNase). Birch pollen extract was separated in an RNase activity gel. Four major RNase bands were excised from the gel, reseparated by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and identified by Western blotting with a specific Bet v 1 monoclonal antibody and patient's serum. Thus the monomer and the dimer of Bet v 1 showed RNase activity. Purified recombinant Bet v 1 was shown to degrade plant RNA. The RNase activity of recombinant Bet v 1 was 180 units · mg−1.

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intracellular pathogenesis-related (protein)


pathogenesis related


RNase inhibitor


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Author information

Correspondence to Albrecht Bufe.

Additional information

We thank Daniela Warneke for her excellent technical assistance and Oliver Cromwell (Allergopharma, Reinbek, Germany) for carefully reading the manuscript.

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Bufe, A., Spangfort, M.D., Kahlert, H. et al. The major birch pollen allergen, Bet v 1, shows ribonuclease activity. Planta 199, 413–415 (1996).

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Key words

  • Allergen
  • Betula (pollen)
  • Pathogenesis-related protein
  • Pollen
  • Ribonuclease