Assessment of the Allergenic Potential of Transgenic Wheat (Triticum aestivum) with Reduced Levels of ω5-Gliadins, the Major Sensitizing Allergen in Wheat-Dependent Exercise-Induced Anaphylaxis

The ω5-gliadins are the major sensitizing allergens in wheat-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (WDEIA). In this study, two-dimensional immunoblot analysis was used to assess the allergenic potential of two transgenic wheat lines in which ω5-gliadin genes were silenced by RNA interference. Sera from 7 of 11 WDEIA patients showed greatly reduced levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE) reactivity to ω5-gliadins in both transgenic lines. However, these sera also showed low levels of reactivity to other gluten proteins. Sera from three patients showed the greatest reactivity to proteins other than ω5-gliadins, either high-molecular-weight glutenin subunits (HMW-GSs), α-gliadins, or non-gluten proteins. The complexity of immunological responses among these patients suggests that flour from the transgenic lines would not be suitable for individuals already diagnosed with WDEIA. However, the introduction of wheat lacking ω5-gliadins could reduce the number of people sensitized to these proteins and thereby decrease the overall incidence of this serious food allergy.