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[SANET-MG] humanized rice to treat allergy
Humanized GM rice to treat allergy yesterday was featured in news
articles. The theory behind the development is interesting and may lead
to an avalanche of GM pharm crops humanized to fight allergies such as
cat, dust mites, nuts, etc. The use of T cell epitope peptides to treat
allergy and autoimmunity has exploded in the past decade. The T cell
epitope for the Japanese cedar pollen allergy peptide are used to
create oral tolerance (oral intake of allergens to create tolerance by
causing the immune system to regard the allergen as food and thus safe).
The epitope peptide is selected , cutting out the parts of the original
protein triggering the allergy response , sneezing, coughing , etc).
Inducing oral tolerance relieves the allergic response to cedar pollen.
introducing the T cell epitope into rice is achieved by introducing
the human gene segment specifying the epitope into the rice genome so
that a rice meal should prevent the allergic response to cedar pollen.
The human epitopr gene was driven by a rice glutelin promoter, followed
by a glutelin signal peptide sequence, a rice endoplasmic retention
signal and a transcription termination gene from rice glutelin. The
gene insert cassette also included a hygromycin antibiotic resistance
gene driven by a CaMV promoter and transcription was terminated by a
The use of humanized rice to treat allergy has a potential ability to
pollute the rice food crop with human genes and an antibiotic resistance
gene. However, there is little doubt that the use of human T cell
epitope peptides produced in crop plants to treat a wide array of
allergies and autoimmune diseases is going to be a major focus in the
very near future. It is important to insure that these humanized crops
are adequately tested for safety to humans and to the environment.
Plant Biotechnology Journal
Volume 3 Issue 5 Page 521 - September 2005
Oral immunotherapy against a pollen allergy using a seed-based peptide
Hidenori Takagi1, Saburo Saito2, Lijun Yang1, Seiji Nagasaka3, Naoko
Nishizawa3 and Fumio Takaiwa1,*
Peptide immunotherapy using dominant T-cell epitopes is safer and more
effective than conventional immunotherapy for the treatment of
immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated allergic diseases. When allergenic
T-cell epitope peptides are expressed in the edible part of transgenic
plants, successful mucosal immune tolerance to these allergens may be
attainable by the consumption of these plants. In this study, we
generated transgenic rice seed that accumulated high concentrations
(about 60 µg per grain) of polypeptide consisting of seven dominant
human T-cell epitopes derived from the Japanese cedar pollen allergens,
Cry j 1 and Cry j 2, in the endosperm. Oral administration of these
transgenic rice seeds to B10.S mice before or after they were immunized
with Cry j 1 holoprotein reduced not only their T-cell proliferative
response to Cry j 1, but also their serum IgE levels, proving the
efficacy of oral immunotherapy for the treatment of pollinosis.
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