Major Allergenic Proteins in Cashew Nut
It is estimated that up to 8% of children less than 3 years of age and 2% of adults are affected by food allergies. While food-induced allergic reactions are the most common cause of outpatient anaphylaxis, the majority of severe reactions of this kind are caused by peanuts and tree nuts. Cashew nuts have been associated with contact or systemic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, and IgE-mediated systemic allergic reactions. Cashew nuts are widely used in snack foods and as an ingredient in a variety of processed foods such as bakery and confectionery products.
The present invention discloses major allergenic proteins in cashew nut, which are legumin-like proteins and 2S albumins. Also disclosed is a polypeptide allergen in the 7S superfamily, which includes vicilin-like and sucrose binding proteins. Several linear epitopes of the cashew nut are identified and characterized. The invention further discloses the sequence of cDNA encoding the allergenic polypeptide, the allergen being designated Ana o 1, and also describes the characterization of the expressed recombinant polypeptide and associated methods employing the polypeptide.
The skilled will recognize that the isolated nucleic acids will be useful at least when expressed in a suitable cell or organism to produce the encoded polypeptides, which in turn may be employed in testing to identify patients allergic to cashew nuts. Furthermore, expression of the nucleic acid sequences of the present invention in a suitable cell may be useful in studying and characterizing gene function.