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meet the allergens

LTP (Lipid Transfer Protein)

The Lipid transfer protein helps to transport lipids across cell membranes. Plant lipid transfer proteins are pan allergens responsible for allergies to a wide range of foods such as broccoli, carrots, celery, tomatoes, melons and kiwis. The extent of this protein's cross-reactivity is comparable to that of profilins. LTP is a particularly severe allergen because it is resistant to degradation by pepsin (enzyme used by the stomach to break down proteins).

Bet v 1 (birch pollen analog)

Bet v 1 is an analog of a birch pollen protein that is, along with other plant pollen proteins, responsible for allergies in 100 million individuals worldwide. Bet v 1 is a previously identified allergen whose homologues have been found in hazel, hornbeam, and adder trees, as well as fruits such as apples, cherries, kiwis, and celery. We found a homologue of Bet v 1 Arabadopsis thaliana that we found specifically for the purpose of this summer's project.

At the molecular level, homologues of Bet v 1 share 65% to 56% homology. The structure of Bet v 1 and its homologues have an alpha helix that is surrounded by seven beta sheets that terminate in a large fork formed by two more consecutive alpha helixes. This forms a forked solvent-accessible cavity that transverses the entire molecule.

Ger version 3

Ger 3 is a germin like plant protein found in Arabidopsis. Like LTP, Germin like proteins do not get broken down by pepsin (the primary enzyme in the stomach that breaks down proteins). Though the function of Ger3 is not completely known in Arabidopsis, it is hypothesized that this protein acts as a receptor in the extracellular matrix to aid plant development, and is released in response to stress.

Proof of Concept

GFP (Green Fluorescent Protein)

GFP (green fluorescent protein) is a fluorescent protein that shows green florescence when exposed to blue light. Because of its fluorescent property, it is commonly used as a reporter. As a proof of principle we are knocking down GFP in a strain of Arabadopsis that is modified to express GFP.