Art v 1, the major pollen allergen of the composite plant mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) has been identified recently as a thionin-like protein with a bulky arabinogalactan-protein moiety. A close relative of mugwort, ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) is an important allergen source in North America, and, since 1990, ragweed has become a growing health concern in Europe as well. Weed pollen-sensitized patients demonstrated IgE reactivity to a ragweed pollen protein of apparently 29-31 kDa. This reaction could be inhibited by the mugwort allergen Art v 1. The purified ragweed pollen protein consisted of a 57-amino acid-long defensin-like domain with high homology to Art v 1 and a C-terminal proline-rich domain. This part contained hydroxyproline-linked arabinogalactan chains with one galactose and 5 to 20 and more alpha-arabinofuranosyl residues with some beta-arabinoses in terminal positions as revealed by high field NMR. The ragweed protein contained only small amounts of the single hydroxyproline-linked beta-arabinosyl residues, which form an important IgE binding determinant in Art v 1. cDNA clones for this protein were obtained from ragweed flowers. Immunological characterization revealed that the recombinant ragweed protein reacted with >30% of the weed pollen allergic patients. Therefore, this protein from ragweed pollen constitutes a novel important ragweed allergen and has been designated Amb a 4.