Abstract T-cell responses constitute a central element of allergic disease and a model for studying Th1 and Th2 cytokine pathways. Most studies to date have used extracts of allergens which contain variable quantities of different allergens and non-allergenic antigens. Recombinant allergens provide the tools for studying the responses to allergens in a reproducible and dose-dependent manner and the different T-cell responses of allergic and non-allergic subjects provide a method for verifying the responses and their relationship to allergic sensitisation. Most allergies show dominant responses to one or a few major allergens. These allergens have been described for the common allergies and have been produced as recombinant allergens. A particular problem for allergens is that many are mixtures of proteins from multi-gene families or are highly polymorphic. Information now exists so the sequence variation can be represented. Purified recombinant allergens produced by standard expression systems stimulate the expected T-cell responses from the peripheral blood of allergic and non-allergics to allergen extracts. Although stimulation with recombinant allergens which are not produced with a natural IgE binding activity can provide a measure of allergenicity, the altered tertiary structure can reduce Th2 responses. The sequence information now available provides the means to use PCR to produce cDNA for the production of recombinant allergens from readily available sources. The production of the highly reactive recombinant Der p 2 allergen of house dust mite from natural sources is described.