Safety assessment of the calcium-binding protein, apoaequorin, expressed by Escherichia coli

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Graphical abstract3-D graphic of the apoaequorin molecule binding calcium ions.HighlightsA recombinant protein, apoaequorin, has been produced and is novel to the human diet.U.S. and international regulatory agencies require safety assessments of the protein.We assessed the allergenicity of the protein sequence against allergen databases.We tested simulated pepsin digestion of the protein.We conclude that this protein does not pose an allergenic threat to the public.Calcium-binding proteins are ubiquitous modulators of cellular activity and function. Cells possess numerous calcium-binding proteins that regulate calcium concentration in the cytosol by buffering excess free calcium ion. Disturbances in intracellular calcium homeostasis are at the heart of many age-related conditions making these proteins targets for therapeutic intervention. A calcium-binding protein, apoaequorin, has shown potential utility in a broad spectrum of applications for human health and well-being. Large-scale recombinant production of the protein has been successful; enabling further research and development and commercialization efforts. Previous work reported a 90-day subchronic toxicity test that demonstrated this protein has no toxicity by oral exposure in Sprague–Dawley rodents. The current study assesses the allergenic potential of the purified protein using bioinformatic analysis and simulated gastric digestion. The results from the bioinformatics searches with the apoaequorin sequence show the protein is not a known allergen and not likely to cross-react with known allergens. Apoaequorin is easily digested by pepsin, a characteristic commonly exhibited by many non-allergenic dietary proteins. From these data, there is no added concern of safety due to unusual stability of the protein by ingestion.

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