Project 02

Susanne Vrtala, Dept. of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, Center for Pathophysiology, Infectiology and Immunology, Medical University of Vienna.

Project 02: Strategies for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of house dust mite allergy.

Susanne Vrtala is working in the field of molecular allergy since 1990. Vrtala has received for her work regarding the molecular characterization of allergens and the engineering of recombinant hypoallergens for immunotherapy prestigious international awards such as the International Pharmacia and Allergopharma Awards. She and her group have worked on the characterization of house dust mite allergens. House dust mites (HDM) represent one of the most important causes of allergy worldwide, against which more than 50% of allergic patients are sensitized. The characterization of the house dust mite allergens regarding their structural, immunological properties and especially regarding their clinical importance is an important step for the development of new diagnostic tests, allergen-specific forms of immunotherapy and eventually prophylaxis. House dust mites represent one of the most complex allergen sources, containing several different allergens. The applicant will therefore first determine the importance of these allergen molecules using component-resolved diagnostic tests in different populations and study the allergenic activity and clinical relevance of the individual recombinant HDM allergens to identify those allergens which are necessary to be included into an effective vaccine for immunotherapy of mite allergic patients. The clinically relevant allergens will be modified into hypoallergenic derivatives and linked in the form of hybrid proteins covering the clinically relevant allergen spectrum in the form of a few molecules to provide a feasible vaccination concept for house dust mite allergy. In vitro and in vivo evaluation of the hypoallergenic derivatives will identify the best candidate vaccines for immunotherapy of HDM allergic patients and eventually open possibilities for prophylactic vaccination. The project should thus ultimately lead to first immunotherapy trials in HDM allergic patients.


Susanne VrtalaAssoc.Prof. Univ.-Doz. Dr. Susanne Vrtala
Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research
Waehringer Guertel 18-20
A 1090 Vienna, Austria
Tel: +43-1-40400 51320
Fax: +43-1-40400 51300
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Weghofer, M., M. Grote, A. Casset, M. Kneidinger, Y. Resch, J. Kopec, W. R. Thomas, E. Fernández-Caldas, A. Mari, A. Purohit, G. Pauli, F. Horak, W. Keller, P. Valent, R. Valenta, S. Vrtala. 2013. Identification of Der p 23, a peritrophin-like protein, as a new major Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus allergen associated with the peritrophic matrix of mite fecal pellets J. Immunol. In press.

Chen, K. W., K. Blatt, W. R. Thomas, I. Swoboda, P. Valent, R. Valenta, and S. Vrtala. 2012. Hypoallergenic Der p 1/Der p 2 combination vaccines for immunotherapy of house dust mite allergy. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 130: 435-443 e434.

Chen, K. W., M. Focke-Tejkl, K. Blatt, M. Kneidinger, A. Gieras, F. Dall'Antonia, I. Fae, G. Fischer, W. Keller, P. Valent, R. Valenta, and S. Vrtala. 2012. Carrier-bound nonallergenic Der p 2 peptides induce IgG antibodies blocking allergen-induced basophil activation in allergic patients. Allergy. 67: 609-621.

Resch, Y., M. Weghofer, S. Seiberler, F. Horak, S. Scheiblhofer, B. Linhart, I. Swoboda, W. R. Thomas, J. Thalhamer, R. Valenta, and S. Vrtala. 2011. Molecular characterization of Der p 10: a diagnostic marker for broad sensitization in house dust mite allergy. Clin. Exp. Allergy. 41: 1468-1477.

Weghofer, M., Y. Dall'Antonia, M. Grote, A. Stocklinger, M. Kneidinger, N. Balic, M. T. Krauth, E. Fernandez-Caldas, W. R. Thomas, M. van Hage, S. Vieths, S. Spitzauer, F. Horak, D. I. Svergun, P. V. Konarev, P. Valent, J. Thalhamer, W. Keller, R. Valenta, and S. Vrtala. 2008. Characterization of Der p 21, a new important allergen derived from the gut of house dust mites. Allergy. 63: 758-767.