The Plant Allergens group from CBGP in collaboration with a group from the Sfax Biotechnology Center (Tunisia) has identified a new protein involved in the defense mechanisms of durum wheat and in the induction of allergic responses in humans.
Proteins belonging to the family of Lipid Transfer Proteins (LTPs) play an important role in defense mechanisms against biotic and abiotic stresses. In addition, in relation to human health, this family of proteins is one of the main causes of food allergy in regions with a Mediterranean climate.
In this study, a new protein belonging to the LTP family has been identified in durum wheat. Wheat is one of the most consumed cereals in the world. There are two varieties: common wheat, used for the production of flour and bread; and durum wheat, used for the production of pasta or couscous, among other products.
In the plant, this recently identified protein is located mainly in leaves and seeds, and its expression is increased in response to different abiotic stresses. On the other hand, it has been shown that this protein can be used as an allergy marker, since it is recognized by the serum of 60% of the patients studied, diagnosed with "baker's asthma", an occupational asthma caused by the inhalation of flour.
For both baker's asthma and food allergy, the only current treatment is the avoidance of the allergenic source. In this way, the identification of new allergenic proteins could allow the improvement of diagnostic systems, that is a key step in improving the quality of life of patients.
Missaoui, K., Gonzalez-Klein, Z., Jemli, S., Garrido-Arandia, M., Diaz-Perales, A., Tome-Amat, J., Brini, F. 2022. Identification and molecular characterization of a novel non-specific lipid transfer protein (TdLTP2) from durum wheat. PLOS ONE 17, e0266971. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0266971