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Protein & Peptide Letters


ISSN (Print): 0929-8665
ISSN (Online): 1875-5305

Biochemical and Molecular Biological Aspects of Silverfish Allergens

Author(s): Bianca Barletta, Gabriella Di Felice and Carlo Pini

Volume 14, Issue 10, 2007

Page: [970 - 974] Pages: 5

DOI: 10.2174/092986607782541123

Price: $65


Insects and insect-derived materials have been implicated as a risk factor for sensitization and subsequent elicitation of allergic rhinitis and allergic bronchial asthma. During the last decades, insects other than those known as allergenic, were investigated for their potential role in inducing and triggering an IgE immune response. Among these, the silverfish, an insect belonging to the Thysanura order, appeared to be of particular interest. Silverfish (Lepisma saccharina) is the most primitive living insect, and represents a descendent of the ancestral wingless insects. They are 3 – 12 mm long, have three tail feelers and are covered with shiny scales. They shun light and need a humid environment and their diet consists of carbohydrate materials such as paper and book-binding glue, crumbs of bread and flour. Because of these features, silverfish finds an optimal habitat both in dwellings and workplaces and in spite of its antiquity, silverfish has succeeded in exploiting the new opportunity created by man. Although its importance significantly increased when it has been demonstrated that house dust contains significant silverfish levels even in houses where the inhabitants were unaware of its presence, no silverfish extract for diagnosis of allergic diseases is commercially available yet. Identification of optimal extraction conditions and characterization of allergenic extracts are the first steps to obtain an effective allergen preparation suitable for diagnosis and therapy, and will be useful as a reference preparation for assessing silverfish exposure in different indoor environments. It has been cloned and characterized a silverfish tropomyosin, named Lep s 1, which represents the first allergen identified in silverfish extract and can be regarded as a molecule cross-reactive among inhalant and edible invertebrates allergenic sources. rLep s 1 displayed biological activity, suggesting that it could be regarded as a useful tool to study the role of silverfish tropomyosin in the sensitization to invertebrate allergic sources.

Keywords: Insect allergy, indoor allergens, silverfish, characterization, cross-reactivity, tropomyosin

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