Antigenic cross-reactivity of venom proteins from hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets
The venoms of hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets have similar protein compositions. The three major venom proteins are antigen 5, hyaluronidase, and phospholipase A1. These proteins, which are allergens in man, have been isolated and compared for their biochemical and antigenic properties. The homologous proteins from these vespids have very similar biochemical properties that include their molecular size and charge, their amino acid composition, and, where it is applicable, their enzymatic activities. They were studied for their antigenic cross-reactivity with specific mouse antibodies. The phospholipases demonstrated no detectable antigenic cross-reactivity, whereas the antigen 5s and hyaluronidases demonstrated varying extents of cross-reactivity.
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Antibodies produced by B cells are highly specific for antigen as a result of random gene recombination and somatic hypermutation and affinity maturation. As the main effector of the humoral immune system, antibodies can neutralize foreign cells. Find the latest research on antibody specificity here.