Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Peanut Allergies: Breakthrough Could Improve Diagnoses

20.12.2011
“Caution: This product may contain nuts.” It’s an increasingly common warning on food labels of all kinds, given the recent heightened awareness of the dangers of nut allergies. Roughly three million Americans suffer from peanut allergies; yet current diagnostic methods don’t detect every case.

New findings by University of Virginia scientists, however, may allow for the development of more sensitive diagnostic tools and a better understanding of nut allergies.

The study, “Structural and Immunologic Characterization of Ara h 1, a Major Peanut Allergen,” appeared in the November 11 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Rethinking the Proteins
In the study, researchers determined that the emerging cutting-edge use of a recombinant, or artificially produced, protein in diagnostic tests may not be a suitable replacement for the natural protein Ara h 1, one of the major peanut allergens. This new insight will be critical in the effort to accurately diagnose peanut allergies and better understand their mechanisms.

“In allergy diagnostics, using a recombinant protein is thought to reveal more consistent results, as they are more homogenous than natural proteins. Individual protein molecules purified from a natural source show much more variation at a molecular level from one another,” says Wladek Minor, PhD, professor of molecular physiology and biological physics in the UVA School of Medicine and study co-leader.

“However, people are exposed to allergens from natural sources, not recombinant protein,” he continues, “and people develop antibodies to different fragments of natural allergens. If there is a significant difference between a natural source and the recombinant allergen used for allergy diagnosis, the recombinant allergen is not a good replacement in the test, because different types of allergies can be overlooked.”

In their analysis, researchers also found strong similarities in the structure of the Ara h 1 protein and those of other plant-seed proteins, which could help explain why patients with peanut allergies frequently also have allergies to tree nuts such as walnuts, almonds, and cashews.

Allergy Detection Could Save Lives
For children and adults who suffer from these serious allergies, accurate and early detection is critical. Allergic reactions to peanuts and tree nuts are the number-one cause of food-induced anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition that develops rapidly after consumption. Armed with an accurate diagnosis, however, allergy sufferers can learn to avoid certain foods and equip themselves with a portable injection of epinephrine, the lifesaving treatment for anaphylaxis.

The team’s next steps in their research will be to determine exactly why peanut-allergic patients are often allergic to tree nuts as well, and to explain why peanut and tree-nut allergies are extremely difficult to outgrow, usually lasting a lifetime.

In addition to Minor, the international research team included Maksymilian Chruszcz, a member of Minor’s UVA research group; Soheila Maleki, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and Heimo Breiteneder, from the Medical University of Vienna. The multidisciplinary study included structural, bioinformatics, and immunological research on Ara h 1. Some methodology used in the project was developed as part of the NIH Protein Structure Initiative, and in particular the New York Structural Genomics Consortium.

Sally H. Jones | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.virginia.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Hidden dynamics detected in neuronal networks
23.07.2019 | Forschungszentrum Juelich

nachricht Towards a light driven molecular assembler
23.07.2019 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: MOF@SAW: Nanoquakes and molecular sponges for weighing and separating tiny masses

Augsburg chemists and physicists report how they have succeeded in the extremely difficult separation of hydrogen and deuterium in a gas mixture.

Thanks to the Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) technology developed here and already widely used, the University of Augsburg is internationally recognized as the...

Im Focus: Better thermal conductivity by adjusting the arrangement of atoms

Adjusting the thermal conductivity of materials is one of the challenges nanoscience is currently facing. Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Spain, researchers from the University of Basel have shown that the atomic vibrations that determine heat generation in nanowires can be controlled through the arrangement of atoms alone. The scientists will publish the results shortly in the journal Nano Letters.

In the electronics and computer industry, components are becoming ever smaller and more powerful. However, there are problems with the heat generation. It is...

Im Focus: First-ever visualizations of electrical gating effects on electronic structure

Scientists have visualised the electronic structure in a microelectronic device for the first time, opening up opportunities for finely-tuned high performance electronic devices.

Physicists from the University of Warwick and the University of Washington have developed a technique to measure the energy and momentum of electrons in...

Im Focus: Megakaryocytes act as „bouncers“ restraining cell migration in the bone marrow

Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.

Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...

Im Focus: Artificial neural network resolves puzzles from condensed matter physics: Which is the perfect quantum theory?

For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.

Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on UV LED Technologies & Applications – ICULTA 2020 | Call for Abstracts

24.06.2019 | Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Hidden dynamics detected in neuronal networks

23.07.2019 | Life Sciences

Towards a light driven molecular assembler

23.07.2019 | Life Sciences

A torque on conventional magnetic wisdom

23.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>