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Open AccessArticle

Insights into the Allergenic Potential of the Edible Yellow Mealworm (Tenebrio molitor)

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UMR 152 Pharmacochimie et Biologie pour le Développement, Université Paul Sabatier, Institut de Recherche et Développement, Faculté de Pharmacie, 35 Chemin des Maraîchers, 31062 Toulouse, France
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Institut de Pharmacologie et Biologie Structurale, IPBS, Université de Toulouse, CNRS, UPS, 31077 Toulouse, France
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Laboratoire d’Immunologie, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Centre Hospitalier Lyon Sud, 165 Chemin du Grand Revoyet, 69495 Pierre-Bénite, France
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Micronutris, 6 Rue de Partanaïs, 31650 Saint-Orens-de-Gameville, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Foods 2019, 8(10), 515; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8100515
Received: 9 August 2019 / Revised: 7 September 2019 / Accepted: 25 September 2019 / Published: 18 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Food Quality and Safety)
The edible yellow mealworm (Tenebrio molitor), contains an extremely diverse panel of soluble proteins, including proteins with structural functions such as muscle proteins, as well as proteins involved in metabolic functions such as enzymes. Most of these proteins display a more or less pronounced allergenic character toward previously sensitized people, especially people allergic to shrimps and other shellfish. A mass spectrometry approach following the separation of a mealworm protein, extracted by sodiumdodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, allowed us to identify up to 106 distinct protein fractions including molecules with structural and functional functions, susceptible to developing an allergenic potential due to the possibility of immunoglobulin E-binding cross-reactions with their counterparts occurring in shellfish. In this respect, most of the sera from people allergic to shrimps reacted with the mealworm protein extract in Western blot experiments. Moreover, the potential mealworm allergens triggered the in vitro degranulation of rat leukemic basophils transfected with the human high-affinity IgE receptor (FcεRI), upon sensitization by the IgE-containing sera from people allergic to shrimps and other shellfish foods. Owing to the large repertoire of IgE-binding cross-reacting allergens the yellow mealworm shares with other phylogenetically-related groups of arthropods, it would seem prudent to inform the consumers, especially those allergic to shellfish, by appropriate labeling on edible mealworm packages about the potential risk of developing an allergic reaction. View Full-Text
Keywords: allergen; allergenicity; immunoglobulin E cross-reacting allergens; yellow mealworm; Tenebrio molitor; arthropods; food allergy; in vitro degranulation test; mass spectrometry allergen; allergenicity; immunoglobulin E cross-reacting allergens; yellow mealworm; Tenebrio molitor; arthropods; food allergy; in vitro degranulation test; mass spectrometry
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MDPI and ACS Style

Barre, A.; Pichereaux, C.; Velazquez, E.; Maudouit, A.; Simplicien, M.; Garnier, L.; Bienvenu, F.; Bienvenu, J.; Burlet-Schiltz, O.; Auriol, C.; Benoist, H.; Rougé, P. Insights into the Allergenic Potential of the Edible Yellow Mealworm (Tenebrio molitor). Foods 2019, 8, 515.

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