Crab allergy is reported as a serious form of food allergy in many countries. This study was aimed to identify the major allergens of the local mud crab, Scylla tranquebarica (S. tranquebarica), and subsequently, determine the effect of vinegar treatments on the crab allergens. Crab muscles were treated with synthetic and natural vinegar. Crab proteins were then extracted from the untreated and vinegar-treated crabs. All extracts were then fractionated by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), and analyzed by immunoblotting; using sera from crab-allergic patients. The crab proteins were then further fractionated by two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE)and analyzed by mass spectrometry (MS). The untreated crab had 38 protein bands, while that was only a few bands between 18 to 73 kDa for the vinegar-treated crabs. Immunoblotting of untreated crab revealed 20 IgE-binding bands, whereas the vinegar-treated crabs could only retain a few IgE-binding bands. Five major allergens were identified with molecular weightsof38, 42, 49, 63, and 73 kDa in the untreated crab. In contrast, the vinegar-treated crabs had only a few major allergens with molecular weights of 38, 42, and 73 kDa. MS identified the 43 and 49 kDa as arginine kinase, while the 38, 63, and 73 kDa were identified as tropomyosin, actin, and hemocyanin, respectively. Inconclusion, we found three common major allergens for S. tranquebarica including tropomyosin, arginine kinase, and actin, and one novel allergen known as hemocyanin. All the major allergens could retain minimal allergenic capability in vinegar-treated crabs, suggesting that vinegar treatments might be useful to reduce crab allergenicity. These data would assist the clinicians in the management of crab-allergic patients worldwide.
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