The selective peptide reactivity of chemical respiratory allergens under competitive and non-competitive conditions

Jon F. Lalko, Ian Kimber, Rebecca J. Dearman, Anne Marie Api, G. Frank Gerberick

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    It is well established that certain chemicals cause respiratory allergy. In common with contact allergens, chemicals that induce sensitization of the respiratory tract must form stable associations with host proteins to elicit an immune response. Measurement of the reactivity of chemical allergens to single nucleophilic peptides is increasingly well-described, and standardized assays have been developed for use in hazard assessment. This study employed standard and modified peptide reactivity assays to investigate the selectivity of chemical respiratory allergens for individual amino acids under competitive and non-competitive conditions. The reactivity of 20 known chemical respiratory sensitizers (including diisocyanates, anhydrides, and reactive dyes) were evaluated for reactivity towards individual peptides containing cysteine, lysine, histidine, arginine, or tyrosine. Respiratory allergens exhibited the common ability to deplete both lysine and cysteine peptides; however, reactivity for histidine, arginine, and tyrosine varied between chemicals, indicating differences in relative binding affinity toward each nucleophile. To evaluate amino acid selectivity for cysteine and lysine under competitive conditions a modified assay was used in which reaction mixtures contained different relative concentrations of the target peptides. Under these reaction conditions, the binding preferences of reference respiratory and contact allergens (dinitrochlorobenzene, dinitrofluorobenzene) were evaluated. Discrete patterns of reactivity were observed showing various levels of competitive selectivity between the two allergen classes. © 2013 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)292-301
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of immunotoxicology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


    • Chemical allergens
    • Competitive binding
    • Peptide reactivity
    • Respiratory sensitization


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