allergen targets

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 v1 (birch pollen analog)

Bet v1 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 v1 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 v1 in Arabadopsis thaliana as a proof of principle specifically for the purpose of this summer's project. Deletion of allergen genes in model systems can potentially allow for characterization of allergen function for a deeper understanding of how and why these proteins cause allergic reactions and better ways to prevent allergy and create hypoallergenic foods.


Ger3 is a germin like plant protein that causes allergy in many people and is also 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 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 control to show that our BioBrick RNAi constructs are functional, we are knocking down GFP in a strain of Arabadopsis that is modified to express GFP.