Peanut allergens

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Peanut allergens have the potential to negatively impact on the health and quality of life of millions of consumers worldwide. The seeds of the peanut plant Arachis hypogaea contain an array of allergens that are able to induce the production of specific IgE antibodies in predisposed individuals. A lot of effort has been focused on obtaining the sequences and structures of these allergens due to the high health risk they represent. At present, 16 proteins present in peanuts are officially recognized as allergens. Research has also focused on their in-depth immunological characterization as well as on the design of modified hypoallergenic derivatives for potential use in clinical studies and the formulation of strategies for immunotherapy. Detailed research protocols are available for the purification of natural allergens as well as their recombinant production in bacterial, yeast, insect, and algal cells. Purified allergen molecules are now routinely used in diagnostic multiplex protein arrays for the detection of the presence of allergen-specific IgE. This review gives an overview on the wealth of knowledge that is available on individual peanut allergens.

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