Temporal and spatial expression of the major allergens in developing and germinating peanut seed

Plant Physiol. 2007 Jun;144(2):836-45. doi: 10.1104/pp.107.096933. Epub 2007 Apr 27.


Peanut (Arachis hypogaea) seed proteins Ara h 1, Ara h 2, and Ara h 3 are considered to be the major peanut allergens. However, little is known about their temporal and spatial expression during seed development and upon germination and seedling growth. In this study, transcript levels of the three major peanut allergen genes, ara h 1, ara h 2, and ara h 3, and their corresponding proteins were found in all cultivars. Expression patterns were heterogeneous depending on the specific peanut allergen gene and the cultivars tested. However, ara h 3 expression patterns among the cultivars were more variable than ara h 1 and ara h 2. Transcripts were tissue specific, observed in seeds, but not in leaves, flowers, or roots, and were undetectable during seed germination. In situ hybridizations and immunotissue prints revealed that both embryonic axes and cotyledons expressed the allergens. However, more ara h 1 and ara h 3 messenger RNA was detected in cotyledons relative to embryonic axes. Allergen polypeptide degradation patterns were different in embryonic axes compared with cotyledons during germination and seedling growth, with levels of Ara h 1 and Ara h 2 dramatically reduced compared to the Ara h 3 polypeptides in embryonic axes. These characterization studies of major peanut allergen genes and their corresponding seed storage proteins can provide the basic information needed for biochemical and molecular approaches to obtain a hypoallergenic peanut.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Plant / metabolism*
  • Arachis / growth & development
  • Arachis / immunology*
  • Arachis / metabolism
  • Gene Expression
  • Germination / physiology*
  • Seedlings / growth & development
  • Seedlings / immunology*
  • Seedlings / metabolism
  • Seeds / growth & development
  • Seeds / immunology*
  • Seeds / metabolism


  • Antigens, Plant