Chapter 9 : Predicting the Allergenicity of Novel Proteins in Genetically Modified Organisms

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The allergenicity assessment of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) crops or GM organisms (GMOs) is one of the important steps in evaluating whether food and feed products from new varieties of plants and animals developed using biotechnology should be safe to eat or would pose a real health risk to the consumer. However, if the introduced gene encoded a major allergen that was transferred into a different food crop, the risk would be substantial for individuals with existing allergies to that protein. This chapter is devoted primarily to evaluating whether the introduced protein is an allergen or is sufficiently similar to suspect potential cross-reactivity, with strong emphasis on the use of computer sequence comparisons between the introduced protein and known allergens. A critical step in the assessment is the use of computer sequence comparisons or bioinformatics to evaluate the similarity of the introduced protein to those of known allergens. Food and Drug Administration (1992) recommended that the allergenicity assessment of GM crops focus on testing to ensure that the allergenicity of the GM variety is not greater than that of the traditionally produced varieties of the same crop. As described, the assessment of each new GM crop should evaluate the known allergenicity of the source of the gene, to help design an appropriate testing strategy. The allergenicity assessment and our understanding of allergenic cross-reactivity in general may be improved by additional studies of clinically responsive subjects with clear histories of allergic reactions to multiple related foods.

Citation: Goodman R, Wise J. 2006. Predicting the Allergenicity of Novel Proteins in Genetically Modified Organisms, p 219-247. In Maleki S, Burks A, Helm R (ed), Food Allergy. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815721.ch9
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Image of Figure 1.
Figure 1.

FASTA3 alignment of hazelnut (nut) allergen Cor a 1.0401 with birch pollen allergen Bet v 1 Sc-3 (85.6% identity) (A) and hazelnut pollen allergen Cor a 1.01 (65% identity) (B).

Citation: Goodman R, Wise J. 2006. Predicting the Allergenicity of Novel Proteins in Genetically Modified Organisms, p 219-247. In Maleki S, Burks A, Helm R (ed), Food Allergy. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815721.ch9
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Image of Figure 2.
Figure 2.

Percent identity of Bet v 1 homologs. Values above and to the right of the diagonal represent the percent identity of the complete amino acid sequence of each protein, compared to each of the homologs. Values below and to the left of the diagonal represent the percent identity of the best aligned 80 amino acid segment of the homologous proteins, compared to the corresponding segment of each Bet v 1 homolog ( ).

Citation: Goodman R, Wise J. 2006. Predicting the Allergenicity of Novel Proteins in Genetically Modified Organisms, p 219-247. In Maleki S, Burks A, Helm R (ed), Food Allergy. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815721.ch9
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Image of Figure 3.
Figure 3.

Two prominent IgE-binding epitopes of Pru av 1(P-loop, from ; *, from ), superimposed on the aligned sequences of birch pollen allergen Bet v 1, apple allergen Mal d 1, cherry allergen Pru av 1, and celery tuber allergen Api g 1.

Citation: Goodman R, Wise J. 2006. Predicting the Allergenicity of Novel Proteins in Genetically Modified Organisms, p 219-247. In Maleki S, Burks A, Helm R (ed), Food Allergy. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815721.ch9
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Generic image for table
Table 1.

Sequence matches to peanut allergens

Citation: Goodman R, Wise J. 2006. Predicting the Allergenicity of Novel Proteins in Genetically Modified Organisms, p 219-247. In Maleki S, Burks A, Helm R (ed), Food Allergy. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815721.ch9

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