Background: The in-depth characterization of the recently identified house dust mite (HDM) major allergen Der p 23 requires the production of its recombinant counterpart because the natural allergen is poorly extractable from fecal pellets. This study aimed to provide a detailed physico-chemical characterization of recombinant Der p 23 (rDer p 23) as well as to investigate its IgE reactivity in a cohort of HDM-allergic patients from Thailand. Methods: Purified rDer p 23, secreted from recombinant Pichia pastoris, was characterized by mass spectrometry and circular dichroism analyses as well as for its chitin-binding activity. The IgE-binding frequency and allergenicity of Der p 23 were determined by ELISA and RBL-SX38 degranulation assays, respectively. Results: Purified intact rDer p 23 carried O-mannosylation and mainly adopted a random coil structure. Polyclonal antibodies to rDer p 23 can detect the corresponding natural allergen (nDer p 23) in aqueous fecal pellet extracts, suggesting that both forms of Der p 23 share common B-cell epitopes. Despite its homologies with chitin-binding proteins, both natural Der p 23 and rDer p 23 were unable to interact in vitro with chitin matrices. Of 222 Thai HDM-allergic patients tested, 54% displayed Der p 23-specific IgE responses. Finally, the allergenicity of rDer p 23 was confirmed by the degranulation of rat basophil leukemia cells. Conclusion: Our findings highlighted important levels of Der p 23 sensitizations in Thailand. Our study clearly suggested that rDer p 23 is likely more appropriate for HDM allergy component-resolved diagnosis than HDM extracts.

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