New major wheat food allergen discovered

Wheat provides essential nutrients, but it is also a major allergen, causing severe gastrointestinal and systemic allergic reactions after ingestion. Researchers in the Division of Immunopathology, at the Medical University of Vienna, have now identified a new wheat food allergen by the name of Tri a 36. To quote the abstract of the study:

'The cDNA coding for a C-terminal fragment of Tri a 36 was isolated by screening a wheat seed cDNA expression library with serum IgE from wheat food-allergic patients. Tri a 36 is a 369-aa protein with a hydrophobic 25-aa N-terminal leader peptide. According to sequence comparison it belongs to the low m.w. glutenin subunits, which can be found in a variety of cereals. The mature allergen contains an N-terminal domain, a repetitive domain that is rich in glutamine and proline residues, and three C-terminal domains with eight cysteine residues contributing to intra- and intermolecular disulfide bonds. Recombinant Tri a 36 was expressed in Escherichia coli and purified as soluble protein. It reacted with IgE Abs of ∼80% of wheat food-allergic patients, showed IgE cross-reactivity with related allergens in rye, barley, oat, spelt, and rice, and induced specific and dose-dependent basophil activation. Even after extensive in vitro gastric and duodenal digestion, Tri a 36 released distinct IgE-reactive fragments and was highly resistant against boiling. Thus, recombinant Tri a 36 is a major wheat food allergen that can be used for the molecular diagnosis of, and for the development of specific immunotherapy strategies against, wheat food allergy.'

Source: Journal of Immunology



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