Project 04

Walter Keller, Institute of Molecular Biosciences, Structural Biology, University of Graz, Graz.

Project 04: Structural analysis for the evolution of allergens towards new vaccines.

Walter Keller is an expert in structural biology who has been collaborating with the groups of the Medical University of Vienna regarding the structural characterization of allergens for almost 10 years. He is interested in understanding conformational IgE epitopes on allergens and works on the development of computational programs for their analysis. Within the SFB he wants to solve the three-dimensional structures of allergens and allergen-IgE immune complexes to develop tools for the prediction of conformational epitopes important for the evolution of allergens towards new vaccines. The specific interaction of allergens with IgE antibodies and the allergen mediated cross-linking of receptor-bound IgE are in the center of allergic diseases. In his project Keller wants to pursue three major goals. First, he will develop the methodology for the reliable prediction of conformational and/or discontinuous epitopes. This is the central theme of the project, because it should give access to all IgE epitopes on a particular allergen simultaneously, corresponding to the “polyclonal” situation as it occurs in vivo. Second, he will use experimentally determined IgE epitopes of clinically important allergens in this SFB for the modification of allergens towards hypoallergenic derivatives and as standard for the verification of the validity of his prediction methodology and for the improvement of the built in filter algorithms. Third, he will work towards the completion of the structural database of allergens to enlarge the structural database of allergens, to make the developed prediction method more widely applicable. The combination of the three approaches proposed in the project should facilitate the design of hypoallergenic allergen derivatives which, after clinical testing, should lead to improved therapeutics.


KellerProf. Dr. Walter Keller
Institute of Molecular Biosciences - Structural Biology
Karl-Franzens-University Graz
Humboldtstr. 50/III, 8010 Graz, Austria
Phone: +43 316 380 5423
Fax: +43 316 380 9897
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