Jug r 2-reactive CD4+ T-cells have a dominant immune role in walnut allergy

Archila LD, Jeong D, Pascal M, Bartra J, Juan M, Robinson D, Farrington ML, Kwok WW.
J Allergy Clin Immunol.. 2 015. 983-992(136)



Allergic reactions to walnut can be life threatening. While IgE epitopes of walnut have been studied, CD4+T-cell specific epitopes for walnut remain uncharacterized. Particularly, the relationship of both phenotype and frequency of walnut specific T-cells to the disease have not been examined.


We sought to provide a thorough phenotypic analysis for walnut reactive T-cells in allergic and non-allergic subjects. Particularly, the relationship of phenotypes and frequencies of walnut specific T-cells with the disease.


CD154 up-regulation assay was used to examine CD4+ T-cell reactivity towards walnut allergens.Jug r 1, Jug r 2 and Jug r 3. Tetramer-Guided epitope mapping approach was utilized to identify HLA-restricted CD4+ T-cells epitopes in Jug r 2. Direct ex vivo staining with peptide-major histocompatibility complex class II (pMHC-II) tetramers enabled the comparison of frequency and phenotype of Jug r 2-specific CD4+T-cells between allergic and non-allergic subjects. Jug r 2-specific T-cell-clones were also generated and mRNA transcription factor levels were assessed by RT qPCR. Intracellular cytokine staining (ICS) assays were performed for further phenotypical analyses.


Jug r 2 was identified as the major allergen that elicited CD4+ T-cell responses. Multiple Jug r 2 T-cell epitopes were identified. The majority of these T-cells in allergic subjects have a CCR4+ TCM (central memory) phenotype. A subset of these T-cells express CCR4+CCR6+ irrespectively of the asthmatic status of the allergic subjects. ICS confirmed these TH2, TH2/TH17 and TH17-like heterogenic profiles. Jug r 2-specific T-cell-clones from allergic subjects mainly expressed GATA3; nonetheless, a portion of T-cell clones expressed either GATA3 and RORC, or RORC, confirming the presence of TH2, TH2/TH17 and TH17 cells.


Jug r 2 specific responses dominate walnut T-cell responses in subjects with walnut allergy. Jug r 2 central memory CD4+ cells and terminal effector T-cells were detected in peripheral blood with the central memory phenotype as the most prevalent phenotype. In addition to conventional TH2-cells, TH2/TH17 and TH17 cells were also detected in non-asthmatic and asthmatic subjects with walnut allergy. Understanding this T-cell heterogeneity may render better understanding of the disease manifestation.