Safety assessment by in vitro digestibility and allergenicity of genetically modified maize with an amaranth 11S globulin

J Agric Food Chem. 2004 May 5;52(9):2709-14. doi: 10.1021/jf035487k.


Prospective testing for allergenicity of proteins obtained from sources with no prior history of causing allergy has been difficult to perform. Thus, the objective of this work was to assess the food safety of genetically modified maize with an amaranth globulin protein termed amarantin. Transgenic maize lines evaluated showed, in relation to nontransgenic, 4-35% more protein and 0-44% higher contents of specific essential amino acids. Individual sequence analysis with known amino acid sequences, reported as allergens, showed that none of these IgE elicitors were identified in amarantin. Amarantin was digested within the first 15 min by Simulated Gastric Fluid treatment as observed by Western blot. Expressed amarantin did not induce important levels of specific IgE antibodies in BALB/c mice, as analyzed by ELISA. We conclude that the transgenic maize with amarantin is not an important allergenicity inducer, just as nontransgenic maize.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / administration & dosage
  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Amaranthus / chemistry*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Digestion
  • Immunoglobulin E / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin E / biosynthesis
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry
  • Plant Proteins / immunology*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / immunology*
  • Sequence Homology
  • Zea mays / genetics*
  • Zea mays / immunology*


  • Allergens
  • Plant Proteins
  • Immunoglobulin E