1 National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark2 Division of Toxicology and Risk Assessment, National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark3 DuPont Experimental Station4 ProImmune Limited5 University of Nebraska6 Bayer SAS7 Medical University of Vienna8 TNO Triskelion BV9 Indoor Biotechnologies Inc.10 Novozymes A/S11 Utrecht University12 AgroParisTech13 AgroParisTech
Experimental in silico, in vitro, and rodent models for screening and predicting protein sensitizing potential are discussed, including whether there is evidence of new sensitizations and allergies since the introduction of genetically modified crops in 1996, the importance of linear versus conformational epitopes, and protein families that become allergens. Some common challenges for predicting protein sensitization are addressed: (a) exposure routes; (b) frequency and dose of exposure; (c) dose-response relationships; (d) role of digestion, food processing, and the food matrix; (e) role of infection; (f) role of the gut microbiota; (g) influence of the structure and physicochemical properties of the protein; and (h) the genetic background and physiology of consumers. The consensus view is that sensitization screening models are not yet validated to definitively predict the de novo sensitizing potential of a novel protein. However, they would be extremely useful in the discovery and research phases of understanding the mechanisms of food allergy development, and may prove fruitful to provide information regarding potential allergenicity risk assessment of future products on a case by case basis. These data and findings were presented at a 2012 international symposium in Prague organized by the Protein Allergenicity Technical Committee of the International Life Sciences Institute’s Health and Environmental Sciences Institute.