Class of 2025Middleton, Wisconsin
- "The Applications of RNAi and CRISPR Gene Editing Technologies to Decrease Immunodominant Allergens in Foods" with mentor Boluwatiwi (Nov. 19, 2023)
The Applications of RNAi and CRISPR Gene Editing Technologies to Decrease Immunodominant Allergens in Foods
Started Apr. 12, 2023
Abstract or project description
Food allergies have become a critical health problem worldwide. This disease state can be associated with potential mortality from anaphylactic reactions. The economic cost for individuals living with food allergies and their caregivers is significant and increasing. The most common approaches to manage food allergies are the avoidance of the food trigger(s) and use of epinephrine for anaphylactic reactions. Overall, there are limited therapeutic interventions available for this population. A new field in food allergy management has emerged based upon gene editing (CRISPR) and gene silencing (RNAi) technologies. These technologies could potentially reduce allergenicity of a food by altering the specific food’s major allergen genes or interfering with the transcription of those genes. This review paper summarizes 7 primary research papers that utilized either CRISPR or RNAi to reduce the allergenicity of foods reported to cause allergic reactions. For all studies presented in this review, there was a significant decrease in the immunodominant allergen gene products for the transgenic plants compared to wild type varieties. Some of the studies were able to compare the difference in allergenicity of the altered food product compared to control, noticing similarities and differences in the phenotypes of both groups as well as major decrease in immunodominant allergen genes. One of the 7 studies performed an in vivo skin prick test showing decreased reactivity with the transgenic plant sample compared to wild type varieties. This review discusses the immune mechanisms underlying food allergies, the functions of the gene editing and silencing technologies, the implication of the technologies on food allergies, and future steps for treating food allergy with gene editing/silencing technologies.