Microarrays and other large-scale screening technologies produce quantities of increasingly complex allergy data. These data link molecular and clinical measurements and observations and provide fertile ground for improving our understanding of the processes involved in allergic reactions. Information technology is employed in gathering, storage, retrieval and analysis of these data. The increasing proportion of allergy data are generated from genomics and proteomics approaches. The major acivity focuses on characterization of allergens including IgE reactivity, structural properties, and mapping of IgE and T-cell epitopes. Because of the complexity of allergy data, their utilization requires bioinformatics approaches. Allergen data are stored in the general and specialist databases. At least a dosen of important allergen databases and data repositories have been developed to date. These data are analysed using general and specialist bioinformatics tools. The major applications of bioinformatics incl ude support for allergen characterization, assessment of allergenicity, and identification of allergic cross-reactivity. These applications in turn support the development of vaccines and therapies for allergic disease. In this article we review allergen databases and tools for the analysis of allergens, and discuss the new directions in the field supported by large scale screening involving genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics support.
Keywords: Allergen databases, allergenicity prediction, allergic cross-reactivity