AllFam - Database of allergen families Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research Medical University of Vienna

AllFam - A Database of Allergen Families

AllFam Statistics

Last update: 2011-09-12
Allergome version: 2011-09-06
Pfam version: 25.0 (March 2011; 12,273 families)
Allergens total: 1091
Allergens with AllFam family assigned: 995
AllFam families: 186
Pfam domains in allergens: 255 (2.1% of all domains)

The AllFam database is a resource for classifying allergens into protein families. It is based on allergen data from the Allergome database, the currently most comprehensive collection of allergen data, and on protein family data from the Pfam database. Read more about the methods used to generate this database in the section About AllFam.

AllFam is maintained by the Biochemistry and Bioinformatics group, located at the Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research of the Medical University of Vienna, Austria.

Browse or search AllFam

Why allergen families?

Structures of allergens from the prolamin superfamily. A: soybean hydrophobic seed protein (Gly m 1), B: peach non-specific lipid transfer protein (Pru p 3), C: castor bean 2S albumin (Ric c 3), and D: wheat 0.19 α-amylase inhibitor (Tri a 28).

In recent years, it has become clear that most allergens belong to a limited number of protein families. Classifying allergens into protein families can help answering questions such as: What makes a protein an allergen? Which allergens are cross-reactive? However, it has to be kept in mind that (1) not every member of an allergen-containing protein family is allergenic and (2) not all allergenic members of a protein family are cross-reactive.

How to use AllFam

You can browse lists of allergen families restricted by allergen source (plants, animals, fungi) and route of exposure (inhalation, ingestion, ...) or search for specific protein families. Every allergen family entry is linked to an allergen family fact sheet that contains descriptions of the biochemical properties and the allergological significance of the family members as well as a list of key references related to this family.

For each allergen family, you can browse a list of allergenic members. Each allergen entry is linked to the corresponding record in the Allergome database, where you will find comprehensive biochemical and clinical data as well as a list of literature references related to this allergen.

See also the FAQ section.

AllFam News

2011-05-24: Changes in the current AllFam release:
New Pfam release: Pfam 25.0 was released in March 2011 and contains 12,273 families.
Direct links to allergens in the IUIS Allergen Nomenclature Database: Allergens officially recognized by the IUIS Allergen Nomenclature Sub-committee now contain direct links to the allergen records in the IUIS Allergen Database. You can access these records by clicking on the 'IUIS' icon.
2009-10-27: Changes in the current AllFam release:
Update of allergen inclusion criteria: Allergens are included in AllFam only if there is experimental evidence for IgE binding, in vitro cell activating activity or positive reactions in skin tests or allergen challenges. In addition, starting with this release, allergens without specified route of exposure are excluded from AllFam. For further information, see the FAQ page.
New Pfam release: Pfam 24.0 was released in October 2009 and contains 11,912 families. An upgrade of the protein family detection and search software (HMMER) increased its sensitivity, which lead to the definition of several new families in AllFam and decreased the number of unclassified allergens from 82 to 65.
2008-04-01: AllFam publication
A paper describing AllFam and data extracted from the database was published in the J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. Please cite this paper when you use data obtained from AllFam in your publication.

Radauer C, Bublin M, Wagner S, Mari A, Breiteneder H:
Allergens are distributed into few protein families and possess a restricted number of biochemical functions.
J Allergy Clin Immunol 2008, 121, 847-52. [PubMed] [doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2008.01.025]

See also the list of publication that have cited the AllFam paper.