Influence of climate changes on cross allergies: possible involvement of pollen transglutaminase

Iorio, Rosa Anna (2009) Influence of climate changes on cross allergies: possible involvement of pollen transglutaminase, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biologia e fisiologia cellulare, 21 Ciclo.
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Allergies are a complex of symptoms derived from altered IgE-mediated reactions of the immune system towards substances known as allergens. Allergic sensibilization can be of food or respiratory origin and, in particular, apple and hazelnut allergens have been identified in pollens or fruits. Allergic cross-reactivity can occur in a patient reacting to similar allergens from different origins, justifying the research in both systems as in Europe a greater number of people suffers from apple fruit allergy, but little evidence exists about pollen. Apple fruit allergies are due to four different classes of allergens (Mal d 1, 2, 3, 4), whose allergenicity is related both to genotype and tissue specificity; therefore I have investigated their presence also in pollen at different time of germination to clarify the apple pollen allergenic potential. I have observed that the same four classes of allergens found in fruit are expressed at different levels also in pollen, and their presence might support that the apple pollen can be considered allergenic as the fruit, deducing that apple allergy could also be indirectly caused by sensitization to pollen. Climate changes resulting from increases in temperature and air pollution influence pollen allergenicity, responsible for the dramatic raise in respiratory allergies (hay fever, bronchial asthma, conjunctivitis). Although the link between climate change and pollen allergenicity is proven, the underlying mechanism is little understood. Transglutaminases (TGases), a class of enzymes able to post-translationally modify proteins, are activated under stress and involved in some inflammatory responses, enhancing the activity of pro-inflammatory phospholipase A2, suggesting a role in allergies. Recently, a calcium-dependent TGase activity has been identified in the pollen cell wall, raising the possibility that pollen TGase may have a role in the modification of pollen allergens reported above, thus stabilizing them against proteases. This enzyme can be involved also in the transamidation of proteins present in the human mucosa interacting with surface pollen or, finally, the enzyme itself can represent an allergen, as suggested by studies on celiac desease. I have hypothesized that this pollen enzyme can be affected by climate changes and be involved in exhacerbating allergy response. The data presented in this thesis represent a scientific basis for future development of studies devoted to verify the hypothesis set out here. First, I have demonstrated the presence of an extracellular TGase on the surface of the grain observed either at the apical or the proximal parts of the pollen-tube by laser confocal microscopy (Iorio et al., 2008), that plays an essential role in apple pollen-tube growth, as suggested by the arrest of tube elongation by TGase inhibitors, such as EGTA or R281. Its involvement in pollen tube growth is mainly confirmed by the data of activity and gene expression, because TGase showed a peak between 15 min and 30 min of germination, when this process is well established, and an optimal pH around 6.5, which is close to that recorded for the germination medium. Moreover, data show that pollen TGase can be a glycoprotein as the glycosylation profile is linked both with the activation of the enzyme and with its localization at the pollen cell wall during germination, because from the data presented seems that the active form of TGase involved in pollen tube growth and pollen-stylar interaction is more exposed and more weakly bound to the cell wall. Interestingly, TGase interacts with fibronectin (FN), a putative SAMs or psECM component, inducing possibly intracellular signal transduction during the interaction between pollen-stylar occuring in the germination process, since a protein immunorecognised by anti-FN antibody is also present in pollen, in particular at the level of pollen grain cell wall in a punctuate pattern, but also along the shank of the pollen tube wall, in a similar pattern that recalls the signal obtained with the antibody anti TGase. FN represents a good substrate for the enzyme activity, better than DMC usually used as standard substrate for animal TGase. Thus, this pollen enzyme, necessary for its germination, is exposed on the pollen surface and consequently can easily interact with mucosal proteins, as it has been found germinated pollen in studies conducted on human mucus (Forlani, personal communication). I have obtained data that TGase activity increases in a very remarkable way when pollen is exposed to stressful conditions, such as climate changes and environmental pollution. I have used two different species of pollen, an aero allergenic (hazelnut, Corylus avellana) pollen, whose allergenicity is well documented, and an enthomophylus (apple, Malus domestica) pollen, which is not yet well characterized, to compare data on their mechanism of action in response to stressors. The two pollens have been exposed to climate changes (different temperatures, relative humidity (rH), acid rain at pH 5.6 and copper pollution (3.10 µg/l)) and showed an increase in pollen surface TGase activity that is not accompanied to an induced expression of TGase immunoreactive protein with AtPNG1p. Probably, climate change induce an alteration or damage to pollen cell wall that carries the pollen grains to release their content in the medium including TGase enzyme, that can be free to carry out its function as confirmed by the immunolocalisation and by the in situ TGase activity assay data; morphological examination indicated pollen damage, viability significantly reduced and in acid rain conditions an early germination of apple pollen, thus possibly enhancing the TGase exposure on pollen surface. Several pollen proteins were post-translationally modified, as well as mammalian sPLA2 especially with Corylus pollen, which results in its activation, potentially altering pollen allergenicity and inflammation. Pollen TGase activity mimicked the behaviour of gpl TGase and AtPNG1p in the stimulation of sPLA2, even if the regulatory mechanism seems different to gpl TGase, because pollen TGase favours an intermolecular cross-linking between various molecules of sPLA2, giving rise to high-molecular protein networks normally more stable. In general, pollens exhibited a significant endogenous phospholipase activity and it has been observed differences according to the allergenic (Corylus) or not-well characterized allergenic (Malus) attitude of the pollen. However, even if with a different intensity level in activation, pollen enzyme share the ability to activate the sPLA2, thus suggesting an important regulatory role for the activation of a key enzyme of the inflammatory response, among which my interest was addressed to pollen allergy. In conclusion, from all the data presented, mainly presence of allergens, presence of an extracellular TGase, increasing in its activity following exposure to environmental pollution and PLA2 activation, I can conclude that also Malus pollen can behave as potentially allergenic. The mechanisms described here that could affect the allergenicity of pollen, maybe could be the same occurring in fruit, paving the way for future studies in the identification of hyper- and hypo- allergenic cultivars, in preventing environmental stressor effects and, possibly, in the production of transgenic plants.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Iorio, Rosa Anna
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze biologiche, biomediche e biotecnologiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Pollen, transglutaminase, climate changes, cross allergens, respiratory allergies, extracellular proteins
Data di discussione
21 Aprile 2009

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