By Sachin Rustgi, Nuan Wen, Claudia Osorio, Rhoda A. T. Brew-Appiah, Shanshan Wen, Richa Gemini, Jaime H. Mejias, Nii Ankrah, Charles P. Moehs and Diter von WettsteinScientia Danica. Series B, Biologica. Vol 3, Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab, 2014. 150 DKK.
Wheat supplies about 20% of the total food calories consumed worldwide and feeds approximately half of the global demand for dietary proteins. Besides being a major source of energy and nutrition it is also a major cause of frequent diet-induced health issues especially celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and food allergies, collectively known as the ‘gluten syndrome’.
Gluten-intake in the sensitive individuals can elicit various reactions, which in combination with their respective genetic constitutions lead to diverse symptoms from gastrointestinal or neurological to fatal. Among these disorders celiac disease is one of the most devastating and affects ~1% of the global population.
Despite of its prevalence in all tested populations the only effective therapy so far is strict dietary abstinence from glutenous grains.
We therefore have undertaken three approaches to develop natural dietary therapies for these diet-induced disorders: i) epigenetic elimination of the immunogenic prolamins using transgenic and non-transgenic procedures, ii) post transcriptional silencing of immunogenic prolamins via RNA interference and iii) post-translational detoxification of prolamins by ectopic expression of ‘glutenases’ in wheat grains for degradation of prolamins in the human gut after consumption.
The present communication describes the progress made in these directions.