ANALYSIS OF THE ALLERGENIC POTENTIAL OF THE UBIQUITOUS AIRBORNE FUNGUS ALTERNARIA USING BIOINFORMATICS
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In the first project, the analyses of the EST dataset offered a first look into the gene content of A. alternata and represents the beginning of future research of this ubiquitous fungus. Annotation and classification of ESTs revealed a number of genes that could be involved in the immunomodulation process of the human immune response toward fungi. We also discovered that the majority of known allergens are expressed during the spore germination phase of A. alternata.
For investigating the allergenic potential of fungi we developed a whole genome approach by querying fungal genome sequences (A. alternata, A. brassicicola, and Aspergillus fumigatus) with a database of all known allergenic proteins from a taxonomically diverse group of organisms. Interestingly, we identified homologues of diverse types of allergens in these fungal genomes and also many homologues of allergens from other organisms including those from pollen, insects, and venoms.
Finally, we investigated global gene expression changes of human airway cells in response to A. alternata and an âˆ†alt a 1 deletion mutant. We found that wild type Alternaria spores induced significant changes in gene expression patterns in human airway epithelial cells, especially known immune response genes. Furthermore, results of these analyses revealed that Alt a 1 is a major factor in inducing epithelial inflammatory responses.
- Doctoral Dissertations