Protein Allergens, Toxins, and Bioinformatics (PATB) Committee

Mission Statement

The PATB is committed to advancing the scientific understanding of the relevant parameters defining allergenic proteins and protein toxins, and encouraging 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, the 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.

Working Groups

  • Digestibility Working Group: Food Matrix Project

    This research project aims to study the impact of food matrices on the digestibility of proteins and complements the work completed on digestibility in vitro models, by testing whether protocols that take matrices into account would provide a better discrimination of allergens and nonallergens than protocols focusing on purified proteins in solution. In 2020, the experimental work was concluded. The data are being analyzed and a publication is planned in 2021.

  • Protein Toxins Task Force

    The goals of the task force are to (1) investigate approaches for identifying protein toxins and (2) suggest specific guidelines to identify new protein toxins. In 2019, the task force undertook a literature review to identify current approaches being used and leading experts in the topic to design the workshop held in 2020. The workshop covered recent advances in protein toxins biology, described the use of computational biology for protein toxins identification and characterization with in silico approaches, and discussed the applicability of existing tools and resources for safety assessment of novel food biotechnology products.

  • Immunogenicity

    This working group aims to examine application of an in vitro protocol for identifying specific T-cells and antibodies from nonallergic and allergic patients to pairs of proteins from the same protein family but with different allergenicity. After some delays in the anticipated start date due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project officially received the green light from the leading institution, Copenhagen University Hospital at Gentofte (Copenhagen, Denmark) in late 2020.

  • COMPARE Allergen Database

    Development and annual update of a database of protein allergen sequences is ongoing. The sixth version of the database was released in January 2022. Throughout the year, the team re-initiated and conducted the 10-month-long process leading to the next annual update of the COMPARE Database which contains 2,463 allergen sequences. Visit COMPARE at https://comparedatabase.org for more details.

HESI Staff

Leadership Team

  • Ronald van Ree, PhD

    Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam

  • Andre Silvanovich, PhD

    Bayer CropScience

Committee Events

HESI PATC and IFBiC Biotechnology Update Symposium 2013

Arlington, Virginia, USA

The 7-8 May 2013 Biotechnology Update Symposium in Arlington, VA, was co-sponsored by the HESI Protein Allergenicity Technical Committee (PATC) and the ILSI International Food Biotechnology Committee (IFBiC).

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HESI Workshop on “Food Allergy and Safety Assessment”

Beijing, China

The 15-16 April 2013 Food Allergy and Safety Assessment Workshop in Beijing, China, was co-sponsored by the HESI Protein Allergenicity Technical Committee, the ILSI Focal Point in China, the ILSI International Food Biotechnology Committee (IFBiC), the China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment, and the China ...

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Committee Publications

“From Protein Toxins to Applied Toxicological Testing” virtual workshop identifies the need for a bioinformatic framework to assess novel food protein safety

The HESI Protein Allergens, Toxins, and Bioinformatics Committee, and the Society of Toxicology Food Safety Specialty Section co-hosted a virtual workshop titled “From Protein Toxins to Applied Toxicological Testing”.  Key outcomes of the workshop are highlighted here.

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Variation in Seed Allergen Content From Three Varieties of Soybean Cultivated in Nine Different Locations in Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana

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 ...

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The COMPARE Database: A Public Resource for Allergen Identification, Adapted for Continuous Improvement

The availability of databases identifying allergenic proteins via a transparent and consensus-based scientific approach is of prime importance to support the safety review of genetically-modified foods and feeds, and public safety in general. Over recent years, screening for potential new allergens sequences has become ...

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Sensitizing Properties of Proteins: Executive Summary

The scope of allergy risk is diverse considering the myriad ways in which protein allergenicity is affected by physiochemical characteristics of proteins.

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