Predicting Food Protein Allergenicity Using a Mouse Model

EPA Grant Number: R834822
Title: Predicting Food Protein Allergenicity Using a Mouse Model
Investigators: Gangur, Venugopal
Institution: Michigan State University
EPA Project Officer: McOliver, Cynthia
Project Period: September 15, 2010 through September 14, 2014
Project Amount: $424,919
RFA: Approaches to Assessing Potential Food Allergy from Genetically Engineered Plants (2009) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Food Allergy , Health


Food allergies are significant public health hazards worldwide with potential for fatal outcome. Nearly 6% children and 4% adults in the United States are afflicted with food allergies. A major concern of genetically engineered (GE) foods is that allergenic proteins might be introduced into the environment (food chain) via GE foods leading to new and widespread life-threatening food allergies. Towards the goal of predicting allergenic potential of novel dietary proteins, we previously developed a novel transdermal sensitization/oral elicitation (TS/OE) mouse model and determined the positive and negative predictive value. Here this mouse model will be used to test the following two hypotheses: (i) the NOAEL and the LOAEL for major plant-derived food allergens in this model will be physiologically relevant to human food allergy; and (ii) this model will be highly useful to distinguish isolated pure allergenic protein from isolated pure non-allergenic food protein. Specific objectives & Approach: 1) Determine the NOAEL and the LOAEL of plant-derivedfood proteins with high vs. low/no allergenic potential in this model. We will establish the oral elicitation dose-response curves and determine the NOAEL and the LOAEL for food proteins with high allergenic potential (hazelnut, sesame) and low/no allergenic potential (pigeon pea, pinto bean) in this model. 2) Determine the immune, clinical and physiological responses to isolated pure food proteins with high vs. low/no allergenic potential. We will ascertain whether the TS/OE model can distinguish the purified allergenic protein (Cor a 9—major allergen in hazelnut) from the purified non-allergen (γ-protein---a major protein in pigeon pea).

Expected Results:

A positive outcome from this research will be further validation of the mouse model for hazard identification of novel dietary proteins including pesticidal proteins used in GE foods. This will also enhance the ability to estimate the potency of unknown proteins relative to known allergenic and non-allergenic proteins in a logically feasible and cost effective manner. In addition, this research will advance our basic knowledge on how environmental dietary proteins might interact with the immune system and adversely impact human health.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 19 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 5 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

food allergens, risk assessment, immunoglobulin E, susceptibility, environmental hazard, anaphylaxis, immediate hypersensitivity;

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2011 Progress Report
  • 2012 Progress Report
  • 2013 Progress Report
  • Final Report