Allergenic characteristics of a modified peanut allergen



Attempts to treat peanut allergy using traditional methods of allergen desensitization are accompanied by a high risk of anaphylaxis. The aim of this study was to determine if modifications to the IgE-binding epitopes of a major peanut allergen would result in a safer immunotherapeutic agent for the treatment of peanut-allergic patients. IgE-binding epitopes on the Ara h 2 allergen were modified, and modified Ara h 2 (mAra h 2) protein was produced. Wild-type (wAra h 2) and mAra h 2 proteins were analyzed for their ability to interact with T-cells, their ability to bind IgE, and their ability to release mediators from a passively sensitized RBL-2H3 cell line. Multiple T-cell epitopes were identified on the major peanut allergen, Ara h 2. Ara h 2 amino acid regions 11–35, 86–125, and 121–155 contained the majority of peptides that interact with T-cells from most patients. The wAra h 2 and mAra h 2 proteins stimulated proliferation of T-cells from peanut-allergic patients to similar levels. In contrast, the mAra h 2 protein exhibited greatly reduced IgE-binding capacity compared to the wild-type allergen. In addition, the modified allergen released significantly lower amounts of β-hexosaminidase, a marker for IgE-mediated RBL-2H3 degranulation, compared to the wild-type allergen.