Kiwifruit defense protein, kiwellin (Act d 5) percutaneously sensitizes mouse models through the epidermal application of crude kiwifruit extract
Background: Kiwifruit is a popular fruit consumed worldwide and is also used as a cosmetic ingredient. However, it is known to cause allergic reactions in humans. Recent studies have suggested an association between food allergy and food allergens entering the body via the skin. However, percutaneously sensitizing kiwifruit allergens have not been identified in human studies or in animal models.
Objective: This study aimed to identify kiwifruit proteins that percutaneously sensitized mice through the epidermal application of crude extracts from green and gold kiwifruit on the dorsal skin, and serum IgE and IgG1 levels were used as sensitization markers.
Design: BALB/c mice were back-shaved and their skin was exposed to crude extracts from green and gold kiwifruit that contained sodium dodecyl sulfate. Specific IgE and IgG1 antibodies generated and secreted in response to antigens were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay or immunoblotting.
Results: Skin exposure to kiwifruit extract induced an increase in the levels of kiwifruit-specific IgE and IgG1, which are helper T cell 2-related allergenic antibodies in mice. These antibodies reacted with 18, 23, and 24 kDa proteins found in both green and gold kiwifruits. Thus, three percutaneously sensitizing allergens were identified and purified. Their amino acid sequences partially matched with that of kiwellin (Act d 5).
Discussion and conclusion: Kiwellin has been identified as a plant defense-related protein. Interestingly, many plant allergens are biodefense-related proteins belonging to the pathogenesis-related protein family. Kiwellin, which was discovered to be a transdermal sensitizing antigen, might also be categorized as a biodefense-related protein. This study is the first to identify kiwellin (Act d 5) as a percutaneously sensitizing kiwifruit allergen in a mouse model.
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