A dozen of food sources are generally thought to account for around 90% of food allergy cases. Among the numerous proteins present in those foods only a restricted number of proteins are potential allergens and induce the allergic symptoms in the patients. Therefore identification, purification and characterisation of individual allergen batches is mandatory to improve allergy diagnosis and to set up model systems to study the impact of food processing or digestion on the allergenicity of food allergens and to analyse the relevant IgE binding structures.
Within the EC funded project, Europrevall, we have established an allergen library and a number of quality criteria identified. Using these well characterised allergen batches will allow better comparison for in depth studies on the prevalence of food allergies applying purified allergens.
Characterization of Bet v 1-related allergens from kiwifruit relevant for patients with combined kiwifruit and birch pollen allergy.
Mol Nutr Food Res 2008, 52 Suppl 2, S230-40. [PubMed]
Pru p 3 as a marker for symptom severity for patients with peach allergy in a birch pollen environment.
J Allergy Clin Immunol 2009, 124, 166-7. [PubMed]
Coordinated and standardized production, purification and characterization of natural and recombinant food allergens to establish a food allergen library.
Mol Nutr Food Res 2008, 52 Suppl 2, S159-65. [PubMed]
The SAFE project: 'plant food allergies: field to table strategies for reducing their incidence in Europe' an EC-funded study.
Allergy 2005, 60, 436-42. [PubMed]
Detailed investigations of the structure-allergenicity relationship have been performed for a range of proteins. For most allergens their intact 3D structure is relevant for their allergenic activity and even exchanges of single amino acid residues can impact on the structure and thus modulate the allergenic activity. Based on this knowledge allergenic molecules can be mutated into hypoallergenic derivatives, as we demonstrated for the apple allergen, Mal d 1 and its mutant. These molecules could represent safer tools for immunotherapeutic approaches.
A mutant of the major apple allergen, Mal d 1, demonstrating hypo-allergenicity in the target organ by double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge.
Clin Exp Allergy 2005, 35, 1638-44. [PubMed]
Mutational analysis of amino acid positions crucial for IgE-binding epitopes of the major apple (Malus domestica) allergen, Mal d 1.
Int Arch Allergy Immunol 2006, 139, 53-62. [PubMed]
Structure of the major carrot allergen Dau c 1.
Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr 2009, 65, 1206-12. [PubMed]
Avoiding the incriminating food is the method of choice for the food allergic consumer, especially if unintended. Therefore, allergenic risk assessment of novel foods including genetically modified organisms is important for the protection of the food allergic consumer group. Based on the current knowledge of identified food allergens the allergenic risk assessment includes in silico analysis of target sequences as well as in vitro analysis. Furthermore, animal models have been established to investigate potential allergenicity.
We are interested in identifying individual parameters that influence the allergic immune response in sensitized animals. This will contribute to a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of an allergic response and will help to address immunotherapeutic strategies.
Allergene Risikoabschätzung einer genetisch modifizierten Maislinie im Vergleich zu der isogenen Kontrolllinie.
Austrian Ministry of Health, 2008
Immune responses against allergens are characterized by increased levels of Th2 cytokines and the induction of IgE antibodies. The factors that control sensitization to allergens and the reason why particular antigens induce allergic sensitization remain largely unknown. Along with a genetic predisposition of an individual to atopy, intrinsic characteristics of the allergens seem to play an important role.
We are interested in the effects of allergens and hypoallergens on the activation of dendritic cells and the subsequent activation of T lymphocytes. Using human monocyte derived dendritic cells we want to elucidate the intrinsic factors of allergens that are responsible of Th2 polarization and the molecular mechanisms by which this process is transduced by DCs.