Background: Sea urchin roe can cause anaphylactic reactions the first time they are consumed; therefore, careful clinical attention should be paid to their effects. However, no previous study has examined the allergens in sea urchin roe using sera from more than one patient. We attempted to identify sea urchin allergens using sera from 5 patients with sea urchin allergies. Methods: We enrolled 5 patients with relevant medical histories, positive results on a skin prick test and/or a food challenge test, and high levels of sea urchin-specific IgE in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. We performed SDS-PAGE, immunoblotting, immunoblot inhibition, and N-terminal amino acid sequence detection. Results: Ten protein bands ranging from 18 to 170 kDa were detected in more than 2 patients' sera. In immunoblotting, the protein band for the 170-kDa major yolk protein was recognized by 4 of the 5 sera. Furthermore, the reaction between IgE and the protein band for egg cortical vesicle protein (18 kDa) was inhibited by the addition of salmon roe extract. Conclusion: Major yolk protein was confirmed to be one of the main allergens in sea urchin roe. In addition, egg cortical vesicle protein (18 kDa) was demonstrated to be an important protein for cross-reactivity with salmon roe.

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