Specific IgE antibodies have been affinity-purified from recombinant grass pollen allergens, and used to identify isoforms of the two major allergens of rye-grass pollen, Lol p I and Lol p V and cross-reactive allergens in other grasses. Lol p I-specific IgE (affinity-purified from the recombinant protein expressed by clone 13R which encodes amino acids 96-240 of Lol p I) identified four isoforms of the allergen. The same probe recognized cross-reactive epitopes in pollen proteins from 14 out of 16 grasses. The allergens identified by Lol p V-specific IgE (affinity-purified from the recombinant protein expressed by clones 12R or 19R which encode the full Lol p V protein) varied more in their physicochemical characteristics than the Group I isoforms. At least eight isoforms of Lol p V were identified by the Lol p V-specific IgE. The same probe recognized cross-reactive epitopes in pollen protein from 13 out of 16 grasses. Group I proteins were identified in grasses from two sub-families of the Poaceae, while the Group V allergens were only identified in pollen of grasses from one sub-family, the Pooideae.