Original Paper

Transgenic Research

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 547-556

First online:

Dau c 1.01 and Dau c 1.02-silenced transgenic carrot plants show reduced allergenicity to patients with carrot allergy

  • Susanna PetersAffiliated withResearch Centre for BioSystems, Land Use and Nutrition, Justus Liebig University
  • , Jafargholi ImaniAffiliated withResearch Centre for BioSystems, Land Use and Nutrition, Justus Liebig University
  • , Vera MahlerAffiliated withDepartment of Dermatology, University Hospital Erlangen, Friedrich-Alexander University
  • , Kay FoetischAffiliated withDivision Allergology, Paul-Ehrlich-Institut
  • , Susanne KaulAffiliated withDivision Allergology, Paul-Ehrlich-Institut
  • , Kathrin E. PaulusAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Friedrich-Alexander University
  • , Stephan ScheurerAffiliated withDivision Allergology, Paul-Ehrlich-Institut
  • , Stefan ViethsAffiliated withDivision Allergology, Paul-Ehrlich-Institut
  • , Karl-Heinz KogelAffiliated withResearch Centre for BioSystems, Land Use and Nutrition, Justus Liebig University Email author 

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Pathogenesis-related protein-10 (PR10) is a ubiquitous small plant protein induced by microbial pathogens and abiotic stress that adversely contributes to the allergenic potency of many fruits and vegetables, including carrot. In this plant, two highly similar genes encoding PR10 isoforms have been isolated and designated as allergen Dau c 1.01 and Dau c 1.02. The aim of the study was to generate PR10-reduced hypoallergenic carrots by silencing either one of these genes in transgenic carrots by means of RNA interference (RNAi). The efficiency of gene silencing by stably expressed hairpin RNA (hnRNA) was documented by means of quantitative RT-PCR (qPCR) and immunoblotting. Quantification of the residual protein revealed that PR10 accumulation was strongly decreased compared with untransformed controls. Treatment of carrot plants with the PR protein-inducing chemical salicylic acid resulted in an increase of PR10 isoforms only in wild-type but not in Dau c 1-silenced mutants. The decrease of the allergenic potential in Dau c 1-silenced plants was sufficient to cause a reduced allergenic reactivity in patients with carrot allergy, as determined with skin prick tests (SPT). However, simultaneous silencing of multiple allergens will be required to design hypoallergenic carrots for the market. Our findings demonstrate the feasibility of creating low-allergenic food by using RNAi. This constitutes a reasonable approach to allergen avoidance.


Dau c 1 RNA interference Carrot allergy Food allergy Skin prick test Hypoallergenic food