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Hevein Proteins

This is a simplified description of hevein proteins – there are more resources available at the bottom of the page for further reading for those who are interested in knowing more.

What are hevein proteins?

Many plants contain hevein proteins. They are lectin like proteins which help in coagulation in plants when they are damaged. It is also referred to as pro-hevein.

Hevein is one of the major allergens associated with allergy to latex. Chitinase proteins are said to be 'hevein-like' proteins and as such there is a lot of cross reactivity between the two protein types for those that are especially sensitive to these allergens.

These proteins vary from species to species in how the allergenicity is changed due to heat, but most studies show many are heat resistant and will still elicit an allergic reaction after cooking or processing.

Which foods contain hevein proteins?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognises 1 hevein food allergen, which is turnip and as a contact allergen in latex allergy.

There are additional studies showing that hevein has been identified in apricot, beetroot, cassava, chard, dill, goji berries, passion fruit, potato and swede.

Cross reactivity with plants containing chitinase is important if you think you may be allergic to hevin proteins, so please visit the Chitinase page to find out more.

What is the link between hevein proteins and latex?

The plant involved in latex allergy Hevea brasiliensis , the rubber tree plant, has an allergen called Hev b 6 which is a hevein protein. Those very sensitised to latex may have a contact allergic reaction from foods, plants or insects containing similarly shaped proteins. This gives this protein an important role in Latex Food Syndrome.

What is the link between hevein proteins and pollen food allergy syndrome?

In Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome the most common sensitising pollen is Bet v 1, which is an allergen from birch tree pollen. It is also sometimes referred to as a PR-10 protein (where PR means pathogenesis related).

In Latex Food Syndrome the sensitising allergen is the hevein protein from the rubber tree plant.

The symptoms associated with this syndrome are often referred to as OAS (Oral Allergy Syndrome) as it mostly affects people who already suffer from pollen allergies and seasonal rhinitis, but also includes a lot of oral symptoms like an itchy mouth, lips, tongue and throat.

What symptoms do they cause?

Allergy to foods containing hevein proteins have a wide range of symptoms and severity including urticaria (hives or welts), angioedema (swelling under the skin), nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting or breathlessness and anaphylactic shock.

What is the importance of knowing whether a reaction is to hevein or other allergens?

Multiple allergies are becoming more common and this often leads people to impose a strict restrictive diet on themselves. This can lead to a poor diet lacking in essential nutrients and frustration over a lack of eating options. Knowing which foods are the most likely to be causing your reactions can bring more options back into your diet.

This is why food diaries continue to be an important tool in diagnosis of your allergies – noting the times reactions took place and what medications were taken are a necessary starting point for a proper diagnosis.

There is more information on food diaries HERE.


Allergen Encyclopedia - Hevein

Latex-Fruit Syndrome and Class 2 Food Allergy

Phys Org - Thermodynamic properties of hevein

Science Direct - Hevein

Articles and Journals

A Current Overview of Latex Allergy, 2024

Latex anaphylaxis in healthcare worker and the occupational health management perspective: A case report, 2023

Comprehensive Review on Banana Fruit Allergy: Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, Management, and Potential Modification of Allergens through Food Processing, 2022

Clinical Relevance of Cross-Reactivity in Food Allergy, 2021

Assessment of antimicrobial phytopeptides: lipid transfer protein and hevein-like peptide in the prospect of structure, function and allergenic effect, 2021

Are Dietary Lectins Relevant Allergens in Plant Food Allergy?, 2020

Molecular approach to a patient’s tailored diagnosis of the oral allergy syndrome, 2020

Chitinases as Food Allergens, 2019 Misleading Allergens in the Diagnosis of Latex Allergy: Profilin and Cross-Reactive Carbohydrate Determinants, 2018

How relevant is panallergen sensitization in the development of allergies?, 2016

Latex-allergic patients sensitized to the major allergen hevein and hevein-like domains of class I chitinases show no increased frequency of latex-associated plant food allergy, 2011

Panallergens and their impact on the allergic patient, 2010

The latex-fruit syndrome, 2002

Class I endochitinase containing a hevein domain is the causative allergen in latex-associated avocado allergy, 1999 Hevein-like protein domains as a possible cause for allergen cross-reactivity between latex and banana, 1998

Isolation and identification of hevein as a major IgE-binding polypeptide in Hevea latex, 1997

Let me know if you found any of these interesting or useful. If you spot an article or research that you think is interesting you can message me or tag me on Facebook or Twitter - links at the bottom of the page.

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