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INRA
24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Allergy to food proteins (ALL)

Bandeau Allergie

                       Context - Objectives - Expertise - Methods and Equipment
                                             Publications - Current events

Team leader: Colette Larré

Co-leader: Sandra Denery

Permanent team members:

Researchers and engineers: Marie Bodinier, Grégory Bouchaud, Chantal BrossardSandra Denery, Colette Larré, Olivier Tranquet

Technicians and assistant engineers: Marion De CarvalhoLaura Linxe, Emilie PerrinFlorence Pineau

Temporary staff members:

phD students: Amandine Selle, Clélia Villemin, Eléonore Dijoux, Martin Klein

CDD and Post-Docs:  Kamel El-Mecherfi (Post-Doc), Carole Brosseau (Post-Doc), Barbara Misme-Aucouturier (Post-Doc)

Thesis defended recently:

Laure Castan (2017),  Maxime Pérot (2017), Mathilde Claude (2016)

Alumni:

Roberta Lupi (Post-Doc)

 

Why do we work on allergy?

Allergy is a public health problem in industrialized countries. Allergic sensitization may occur by contact (atopic dermatitis), inhalation (rhinitis and asthma) or by ingestion of allergens. Allergy is a multifactorial disease, influenced by several factors such as genetic, environment and dysfunctions of immune system and microbiota.

Food allergies are aberrant responses of our immune system against harmless molecules from our diet. The physico-chemical characteristics of some food proteins play an important role in food allergies. We are exposed to multiple food proteins but a few proteins are involved in allergic reactions.

The main food allergens differ as a function of patient age:
 - egg, peanut and milk allergens in children
 - plant allergens in adults, notably due to cross-reactions with pollen allergens
 - wheat allergens in children and adults, less frequent reactions

 

Objectives

The team objectives are to elucidate the food allergenicity by studying the structures of allergens in link with biological mechanisms. We take into account allergen molecular and supramolecular organizations. We also search to develop nutritional strategies to prevent from allergies. Model allergens are used in our studies and are mainly derived from wheat, eggs and legumes.

Our strategy is based on in vitro, in vivo and ex vivo models and clinical trial to explore the various mechanisms involved in the allergic response:

  • allergen digestion
  • dysfunction of epithelial barriers (permeability) and microbiota
  • sensitization: involvement of the different key actors of immune system
  • triggering of symptoms

 

Research lines

Our work can be divided into two approaches:

  • Molecular structures of allergens

Characterization of allergen properties (identification, molecular characterization, epitopes). Study of the influence of food processing on allergenicity.

  • Biological mechanisms

Elucidate the immunological mechanisms which orchestrate the development of the allergic reaction and its natural history during life.
Study the impact of diet (processes, prebiotics ...) on mechanisms involved in the allergic reaction. Development of therapeutic strategies to prevent form the allergy development by biological molecules of food.

 

Expertise

Immunochemistry, Immunology, Biochemistry and Physical chemistry of proteins, Proteomics, Allergenomics, Cell culture, Digestion, Preclinical models, Functional exploration

 

Methods

  • Purification of allergens (sequential extraction, chromatography)
  • Production of polyclonal, monoclonal and recombinant antibodies - collection of antibodies directed against food allergens (wheat, peas, rapeseed, egg, milk ...)
  • Immunoglobulin detection and measurement by ELISA
  • Characterization of allergens by proteomic (1D, 2D electrophoresis, immunoblotting and mass spectrometry)
  • Identification of epitopes using synthetic peptides (pepscan)
  • Digestive hydrolysis, in vitro study of allergen resistance
  • Molecular biology and production of recombinant proteins
  • Allergen detection (immunochemistry and mass spectrometry)
  • Models for studying allergy mechanisms
    • in vitro : epithelial cells (Caco 2 ...), basophils (humanized RBLs)
    • ex vivo : intestinal biopsy, primary cells (spleen, mesenteric lymph nodes ...)
    • in vivo : preclinical allergy models
  • Analysis of cell populations and receptors by flow cytometry
      

Specific equipment

  • Pipetting working station
  • Ussing chambers
  • Flow Cytometer (FACSCanto ™ II)
  • Cell culture laboratory
  • Access to animal facilities
  • Access to other equipment: BIBS Plateforme (mass spectrometry, microscopy)