Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 69, Issue 3, pp 209–215 | Cite as

Allergenicity Assessment of Genetically-modified Tobacco Expressing Salt Tolerance cbl Gene

  • Alok Kumar Verma
  • Sandeep Kumar
  • Bhushan P. Chaudhari
  • Narendra Tuteja
  • Mukul Das
  • Premendra D. DwivediEmail author
Original Paper


It is mandatory to assess the allergenic potential of genetically modified (GM) crops before their commercialization. Recently, a transgene [Calcineurin B-like (CBL) protein] has been introduced into tobacco plant to make the crop salt resistance. Therefore, it was felt necessary to assess the allergenic potential of the cbl gene product, which was introduced and expressed in Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco) plant and compared the allergenic effects with the wild-type (WT) counterpart. Bioinformatic analysis revealed that there was no significant sequence homology with known allergens. Also, no difference between the protein digestibility profiles of GM and WT tobacco was found. Rapid digestion of CBL protein (Mol Wt 35 kDa) by simulated gastric fluid (SGF) indicated reduced chances of this protein to induce allergenicity. In addition, BALB/c mice sensitized by intraperitoneal administration of WT and GM tobacco protein showed comparable levels of clinical score, specific IgE, IgG1, histamine level, similar effect on different organs as well as IgE binding proteins. These findings indicate that insertion of cbl gene in tobacco did not cause any additional allergic risk to consumer and the GM and native tobacco proteins behave similarly in both in vitro and in vivo situations even after genetic modification.


Allergy GM crops cbl gene Simulated gastric fluid Murine model 


Mol Wt

Molecular weight


Wild type


Calcineurin B-like


Genetically modified


Simulated gastric fluid



The authors gratefully acknowledge the Director of the Institute for support and interest in carrying out this study. This work was financially supported by research project In-Depth (BSC-0111) of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi, India. We convey gratitude to Academy of Scientific & Innovative Research (AcSIR), New Delhi. AKV and SK are thankful to CSIR, New Delhi for the award of their Senior Research Fellowships. This is CSIR-IITR manuscript no-3234.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11130_2014_435_MOESM1_ESM.doc (5.2 mb)
ESM 1 (DOC 5296 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alok Kumar Verma
    • 1
    • 4
  • Sandeep Kumar
    • 1
  • Bhushan P. Chaudhari
    • 2
  • Narendra Tuteja
    • 3
  • Mukul Das
    • 1
    • 4
  • Premendra D. Dwivedi
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Food, Drug and Chemical Toxicology GroupCSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research LucknowIndia
  2. 2.Pathology LaboratoryCSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (CSIR-IITR)LucknowIndia
  3. 3.International Centre for Genetic Engineering and BiotechnologyNew DelhiIndia
  4. 4.Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR), CSIR-IITRLucknowIndia

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