Understanding the chemical interactions of common allergens in urban environments may help to decipher the general increase in susceptibility to allergies observed in recent decades. In this study, asexual conidia of the allergenic mold Aspergillus fumigatus were exposed to air pollution under natural (ambient) and controlled (laboratory) conditions. The allergenic activity was measured using two immunoassays and supported by a protein mass spectrometry analysis. The allergenicity of the conidia was found to increase by 2-5 fold compared to the control for short exposure times of up to 12h (accumulated exposure of about 50ppb NO2 and 750ppb O3), possibly due to nitration. At higher exposure times, the allergenicity increase lessened due to protein deamidation. These results indicate that during the first 12h of exposure, the allergenic potency of the fungal allergen A. fumigatus in polluted urban environments is expected to increase. Additional work is needed in order to determine if this behavior occurs for other allergens.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was support by the Israeli Science Foundation (grant # 913/12 ). The authors thank Dror Barzilay for technical assistance; Yoav Barak for instrumentation and experimental consultancy; Nir Bluvshtein, Michal Levin and Michel Flores for laboratory assists and support. We also gratefully acknowledge the expert assistance of Tevie Mehlman and Dalit Merhav from the Mass Spectrometry Unit, Weizmann Institute of Science.
© 2015 Elsevier B.V.
- Allergenic protein
- Aspergillus fumigatus
- Fungal spore
- Protein modification
- Urban air pollution