Characterization of T Cell Epitopes in Bovine α-Lactalbumin

Meulenbroek et al., Int Arch Allergy Immunol. (2014) - PMID: 24777233

Product(s) used in this publication:  PepTrack™ Peptide Libraries



Recent studies have indicated that peptides containing T cell epitopes may be used for immunotherapy. While for several cow's milk allergens the T cell epitopes have been described, the T cell epitopes in the major allergen α-lactalbumin (α-LAC) are unknown. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the T cell epitopes in α-LAC.


Nineteen synthetic peptides spanning α-LAC were obtained. Cow's milk-specific T cell lines (TCLs) of 46 subjects were generated and tested for their specificity for α-LAC. The lines responding to α-LAC were subsequently tested to determine their activation in response to the peptides.


More than half of the TCLs generated did not respond to α-LAC or lost their responsiveness during subsequent experiments, which indicates that α-LAC has low immunogenicity. Only 8 TCLs recognized 1 or more peptides. The recognition of the peptides was diverse and no major epitopes could be defined.


The immunogenicity of α-LAC is very low compared to other major allergens in cow's milk. Moreover, there seems to be no dominant epitope present in the protein. Therefore, it seems unlikely that peptides of this protein can be used for immunotherapy.

© 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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