Ses i 6, the sesame 11S globulin, can activate basophils and shows cross-reactivity with walnut in vitro

M. L. Wallowitz, R. J Y Chen, J. T C Tzen, Suzanne S Teuber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Background: Sesame allergy is increasingly being reported, and multi-sensitization to peanut and tree nuts has been described. The clinical relevance and cross-reactivity of many sesame proteins, such as Ses i 6, are unknown. Objective: The aims of this study were to perform a preliminary examination of the cross-reactivity of Ses i 6 in vitro, examine the ability of Ses i 6 to activate basophils in a modified basophil activation test (mBAT), and assess whether such an assay may help to distinguish between potentially relevant and irrelevant IgE reactivity towards 11S globulin proteins. Methods: Inhibition immunoblotting and chicken anti-rJug r 4 antibodies were used to determine the cross-reactivity of rSes i 6. Basophils from atopic donors were stripped of resident IgE before passive sensitization with food-allergic sera and challenged with protein extracts or recombinant protein. Basophil activation was measured using two activation markers, CD203c and CD63, via flow cytometry. Results: IgE immunoblotting showed cross-reactivity between rJug r 4 and rSes i 6 using sera from two human donors and chicken IgY. Additionally, rSes i 6 activated basophils passively sensitized with sesame-allergic sera. Cross-reactive serum from a sesame-allergic but walnut-tolerant donor was not able to activate basophils when challenged by walnut extract despite IgE reactivity to walnut determined by immunoblotting. Conclusions: The sesame 11S globulin shows partial immunological cross-reactivity with walnut, and although it is classified as a minor allergen, activated basophils sensitized with serum from seven out of eleven sesame-allergic donors. Additionally, the mBAT may help distinguish between clinically relevant and irrelevant in vitro IgE cross-reactivity of seed storage proteins in nuts and seeds and thus warrants use in further studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)929-938
Number of pages10
JournalClinical and Experimental Allergy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • 11S globulin
  • Basophil activation test
  • Cross-reactivity
  • Food allergy
  • Jug r 4
  • Seed storage protein
  • Ses i 6
  • Sesame
  • Walnut

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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