• Open Access

Oral immunotherapy with transgenic rice seed containing destructed Japanese cedar pollen allergens, Cry j 1 and Cry j 2, against Japanese cedar pollinosis


Correspondence (Tel + 81 29 838 8373; fax: +81 29 838 8397; email takaiwa@nias.affrc.go.jp)


Transgenic rice accumulating the modified major Japanese cedar pollen allergens, Cryptomeria japonica 1 (Cry j 1) and Cryptomeria japonica 2 (Cry j 2), which were deconstructed by fragmentation and shuffling, respectively, in the edible part of the seed was generated by transformation of a good-tasting rice variety, ‘Koshihikari’. These modified cedar pollen antigens were deposited in ER-derived protein bodies (PB-I), which are suitable for delivery to the mucosal immune system in gut-associated lymphoid tissue when orally administered because antigens bioencapsulated in PB-I are resistant against hydrolysis by intestinal enzymes and harsh environments. Mice fed transgenic seeds daily for three weeks and then challenged with crude cedar pollen allergen showed marked suppression of allergen-specific CD4+ T-cell proliferation, IgE and IgG levels compared with mice fed nontransgenic rice seeds. As clinical symptoms of pollinosis, sneezing frequency and infiltration of inflammatory cells such as eosinophils and neutrophils were also significantly reduced in the nasal tissue. These results imply that oral administration of transgenic rice seeds containing the structurally disrupted Cry j 1 and Cry j 2 antigens, serving as universal antigens, is a promising approach for specific immunoprophylaxis against Japanese cedar pollinosis.