Introduction to molecular allergology: Protein families, databases, and potential benefits. In Molecular Allergy Diagnostics: Innovation for a Better Patient Management. (Book Chapter)
- Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Recent research into allergens has changed our understanding of allergic reactions, especially with regard to those mediated by immunoglobulin E (IgE). The previous (and primarily biological) categorization of allergen sources as pollens, mites, animal epithelial tissue, mold spores, foods, and insect venoms is being augmented by knowledge of molecular structures of the individual allergens and their categorization into protein families. Molecular allergology allows more sensitive and precise diagnosis and detects individual patterns of sensitization. Cross-sensitization, sensitization to marker allergens, and prognostically important sensitization to high-risk allergens can, therefore, be examined in depth.
This chapter begins by presenting the nomenclature of immediate-type allergens and the classification systems used in molecular allergology. The principles of protein relationships and the benefits of available allergen databases are discussed, and the use of these methods in molecular epidemiology and allergy diagnostics is outlined.