In recent years there has been an increase in the prevalence of allergic reactions to contact with/or consumption of crustaceans by immune responses mediated by IgE antibodies. Arginine kinase (AK) is considered one of the main allergens present in marine invertebrates. Currently, the allergenic potential of the brown crab (Callinectes bellicosus), which is a crustacean of great economic importance, has not been studied. Therefore, the aim of this work was to identify C. bellicosus AK as an allergen and to predict IgE-binding epitopes through immunobioinformatic analysis. AK was purified by precipitation with ammonium sulfate and ion- exchange chromatography. AK allergenicity was evaluated by IgE reactivity against sera from crustacean-allergic and non-allergic patients in both native and denaturing conditions. Additionally, a homology model was built based on the deduced amino acid sequence. A single band (~40 kDa) was found in SDS-PAGE, which was identified as an AK by mass spectrometry. AK showed immunoreactivity against crab-allergenic sera in both native and denaturing conditions with 70% and 80% positive reactions, respectively. Additionally, a 1073 bp ORF was obtained which codes for a deduced sequence of 357 amino acids corresponding to AK with > 90% identity with other AKs. Structural homology model of AK showed two main domains with conserved / folding of phospho-guanidine kinases. BediPred and Discotope were used for epitope prediction analysis, which suggests eight possible linear epitopes and seven conformational epitopes, respectively; and shows to be similar to other crustaceans AKs. C. bellicosus AK was identified as an allergenic protein by IgE reactivity and immunobioinformatic analysis indicates that both linear and conformational epitopes could be located in the surface of C. bellicosus AK structure.
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