Crystal structure of jun a 1, the major cedar pollen allergen from Juniperus ashei, reveals a parallel β-helical core

Edmund W. Czerwinski, Terumi Midoro-Horiuti, Mark A. White, Edward G. Brooks, Randall M. Goldblum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations


Pollen from cedar and cypress trees is a major cause of seasonal hypersensitivity in humans in several regions of the Northern Hemisphere. We report the first crystal structure of a cedar allergen, Jun a 1, from the pollen of the mountain cedar Juniperus ashei (Cupressaceae). The core of the structure consists primarily of a parallel β-helix, which is nearly identical to that found in the pectin/pectate lyases from several plant pathogenic microorganisms. Four IgE epitopes mapped to the surface of the protein are accessible to the solvent. The conserved vWiDH sequence is covered by the first 30 residues of the N terminus. The potential reactive arginine, analogous to the pectin/pectate lyase reaction site, is accessible to the solvent, but the substrate binding groove is blocked by a histidine-aspartate salt bridge, a glutamine, and an α-helix, all of which are unique to Jun a 1. These observations suggest that steric hindrance in Jun a 1 precludes enzyme activity. The overall results suggest that it is the structure of Jun a 1 that makes it a potent allergen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3740-3746
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 4 2005


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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