This workshop provided an opportunity to discuss the current state of the science in immunologic mechanisms of non-IgE mediated food allergy with a specific emphasis on use of these data to assess food safety.
Protein Allergens, Toxins, and Bioinformatics Committee (PATB)
Protein Allergens, Toxins, and Bioinformatics
The PATB is committed to advancing the scientific understanding of the relevant parameters defining allergenic proteins and protein toxins, and to encourage the development of reliable and accurate methodologies for characterizing the allergenic potential of novel proteins in order to leverage the potential of bioinformatics approaches in accomplishing these efforts.
Renaming the Committee: PATC to PATB
Formerly the Protein Allergenicity Technical Committee (PATC), the Committee has adopted a new designation (Protein Allergens, Toxins and Bioinformatics [PATB] Committee) to embrace a broader scope, expertise, interests, and collaborators in the fields of bioinformatics and protein toxins, while strengthening its core focus in allergenicity.
Soybean (Glycine max) is an important food stock, and also considered an allergenic food with at least eight well characterized allergens. However, it is a less prevalent allergen source than many other foods and is rarely life-threatening. Soybean is incorporated into commonly consumed foods, and therefore, the allergens pose a potential concern for individuals already sensitized. The protein profile of soybean can be affected by several factors including genetic and environmental. To investigate how soybean allergen content may be affected by genetics and/or environment, nine soy allergens were quantified from three commercial soybean varieties grown at nine locations in three states within a single climate zone in North America; Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana, United States. Quantitation was achieved using liquid chromatography-selected reaction monitoring (LC-SRM) tandem mass spectrometry with AQUA peptide standards specific to the nine target allergens.
Proteins are fundamental to life and exhibit a wide diversity of activities, some of which are toxic. Therefore, assessing whether a specific protein is safe for consumption in foods and feeds is critical. Simple BLAST searches may reveal homology to a known toxin, when in fact the protein may pose no real danger.
In rice, several allergens have been identified such as the non-specific lipid transfer protein-1, the α-amylase/trypsin-inhibitors, the α-globulin, the 33 kDa glyoxalase I (Gly I), the 52–63 kDa globulin, and the granule-bound starch synthetase. The goal of the present study was to define optimal rice extraction and detection methods that would allow a sensitive and reproducible measure of several classes of known rice allergens. In a three-laboratory ring-trial experiment, several protein extraction methods were first compared and analyzed by 1D multiplexed SDS-PAGE. In a second phase, an inter-laboratory validation of 2D-DIGE analysis was conducted in five independent laboratories, focusing on three rice allergens (52 kDa globulin, 33 kDa glyoxalase I, and 14–16 kDa α-amylase/trypsin inhibitor family members). The results of the present study indicate that a combination of 1D multiplexed SDS-PAGE and 2D-DIGE methods would be recommended to quantify the various rice allergens.
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Genetically modified (GM) crops have achieved success in the marketplace and their benefits extend beyond the overall increase in harvest yields to include lowered use of insecticides and decreased carbon dioxide emissions. The most widely grown GM crops contain gene/s for targeted insect protection, herbicide tolerance, or both. Plant expression of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) crystal (Cry) insecticidal proteins have been the primary way to impart insect resistance in GM crops. Although deemed safe by regulatory agencies globally, previous studies have been the basis for discussions around the potential immuno-adjuvant effects of Cry proteins. These studies had limitations in study design. The studies used animal models with extremely high doses of Cry proteins, which when given using the ig route were co-administered with an adjuvant. Although the presumption exists that Cry proteins may have immunostimulatory activity and therefore an adjuvanticity risk, the evidence shows that Cry proteins are expressed at very low levels in GM crops and are unlikely to function as adjuvants. This conclusion is based on critical review of the published literature on the effects of immunomodulation by Cry proteins, the history of safe use of Cry proteins in foods, safety of the Bt donor organisms, and pre-market weight-of-evidence-based safety assessments for GM crops.
In January 2014, an international meeting sponsored by the International Life Sciences Institute/Health and Environmental Sciences Institute and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency titled “Genetic Basis of Unintended Effects in Modified Plants” was held in Ottawa, Canada, bringing together over 75 scientists from academia, government, and the agro-biotech industry.