About this Research Topic
Treatment of IgE-mediated hypersensitivity disorder has traditionally been done by symptomatic treatments. These symptomatic treatments are largely incapable of ceasing the chronic episodes of allergy and have certain side-effects. It has been found that allergen immunotherapy (AIT) is so far the best alternative of the traditional symptomatic treatments. AIT is a disease-modifying approach which can induce protective immunity against the causative allergen in a safe way with long-lasting effects. Determinations of allergen structures and precise mapping of the antigenic determinants have been found to be instrumental to know how allergens interact with various components of the immune system and subsequently how the inflammatory pathways are turned on in individuals with atopic predisposition. This deeper insight into the intricate molecular details of allergens has also facilitated the formulation of effective immunotherapeutics. In addition to AIT, other effective therapeutic interventions can be designed that are more targeted towards the crucial steps of the allergic inflammation. In order to achieve this goal, molecular allergologists and immunologists are still pursuing interdisciplinary research to unveil the pathomechanism of sensitization, antigen presentation, epitope-recognition, allergen-specific IgE production, and inflammatory reaction. Recent advancement in the field of molecular biology, structural biology and especially protein engineering has expanded our understanding on the mechanism of tolerance induction by AIT. A paradigm shift is being witnessed in the last decade where extract-based AIT has been replaced by purified molecules. These purified molecules are often selectively modified to construct hypoallergens. Hypoallergens are genetically engineered versions of the allergen that are immunogenic but with low allergenic activity. A number of different approaches were undertaken to re-engineer the allergen molecules to create hypoallergens. These include allergens with a few point mutations, T-cell epitope based peptide vaccines, restructured allergens, non-antigenic peptides fused with carrier and so on.
This Research Topic is dedicated for original research papers, reviews, systemic reviews, and mini reviews on the utility and application of the structural information of allergens for therapeutic management of allergy.
Keywords: Structural biology, Epitope mapping, Hypoallergenic vaccines, IgE-epitope, T-cell epitope, Allergen immunotherapy, Allergy tolerance
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