A bioinformatic analysis: Previous allergen exposure may support anti- SARS-CoV-2 immune response

Karagöz I. K., Kaya M., Rückert R., Bozman N., Kaya V., Bayram H., ...More

Computational Biology and Chemistry, vol.107, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 107
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.compbiolchem.2023.107961
  • Journal Name: Computational Biology and Chemistry
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Applied Science & Technology Source, BIOSIS, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, Chimica, Compendex, Computer & Applied Sciences, EMBASE, INSPEC, MEDLINE, zbMATH
  • Keywords: Bioinformatic, Covid-19, Epitope similarity, allergens, MHC epitopes, S- protein
  • Yıldız Technical University Affiliated: Yes


COVID-19, caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 has become a global health problem due to significant mortality rates; the exact pathophysiological mechanism remains uncertain. Articles reporting patient data are quite heterogeneous and have several limitations. Surviving patients develop a CD4 and CD8 T-cell response to the virus SARS-CoV-2 during COVID-19. Interestingly, pre-existing virus-reactive T-cells have been found in patients that were not infected before, suggesting some form of cross-reactivity or immunological mimicry. To better understand this phenomenon, we performed a bioinformatic study, which was aimed to identify antigenic structures that may explain the presence of such “reactive” T-cells, which may support or modulate the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infections. Seven different common environmental allergen epitopes identical to the SARS-CoV-2 S-protein were identified that share affinity to 8 MHCI-specific epitope regions. Pollen showed the greatest similarity with the S protein epitope. In the epitope similarity analysis between the S protein and MHC-II / T helper epitopes, the highest similarity was determined for mites. When S-protein that stimulates B cells and identical epitope antigens are examined, the most common allergens were hornbeam and wheat. The high epitope similarity observed for the allergens examined and S protein epitopes suggest that these allergens may be a reason for pre-existing SARS-CoV-2 – reactive T-cells in previously non-infected subjects and such a previous exposure may affect the course of the disease in COVID-19 infection. It remains to be determined whether such a previous existence of SARS-CoV-2 reactive cells can support the clearance of the virus or if they, in contrast, may even aggravate the disease course. (Table 4, Ref 54)