Viral nanoparticles are useful in food allergy research

Work carried out by CBGP researchers of the Scientific Area ‘Synthetic Biology and Bioengineering’, together with the Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria-Fundación Jiménez Díaz, Madrid, has shown the suitability of viral nanoparticles functionalized with a food allergen in the research about the allergens induced by these biomolecules.


Peach allergen Pru p 3, a lipid transport protein, was exposed by genetic fusion on the external surface of viral nanoparticles derived from Turnip mosaic virus, a potyvirus. The recombinant nanoparticles were produced in plants, purified from them, and characterized from different standpoints.
Their potential usefulness was highlighted by their ability to induce proliferation of human immune cells, especially when coupled to the allergen natural lipid ligand, which could be transported together with the nanoparticles through intestinal epithelial cells, without affecting the monolayer integrity. When delivered to animal models of food allergy, they substantially dropped down some of the main markers of the allergic response, without the need of external adjuvants. In addition, no macroscopic, nephritic, or hepatic alterations were detected in the recipient mice.
Thus, these nanoparticles turn out to be excellent candidates for further studies about the treatment of pathologies with an immunologic basis.
At CBGP this work is the fruit of an intense collaboration between the group of ‘Plant Allergens’, led by Dr. Araceli Díaz Perales, and ‘Plant Virus Biotechnology’, led by Dr. Fernando Ponz, together with Dr. Vanesa Esteban’s from the Fundación Jiménez Díaz.


Original Paper:

Pazos-Castro, D., Margain, C., Gonzalez-Klein, Z., Yuste-Calvo, C., Garrido-Arandia, M., Zurita, L., Esteban, V., Tome-Amat, J., Diaz-Perales, A., Ponz, F. 2022. Suitability of potyviral recombinant virus-like particles bearing a complete food allergen for immunotherapy vaccines. Frontiers in Immunology 13. DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2022.986823