Joint transcriptomic and cytometric study of children with peanut allergy reveals molecular and cellular cross talk in reaction thresholds

Lingdi Zhang, Yoojin Chun, Zoe Arditi, Galina Grishina, Tracy Lo, Kayla Wisotzkey, Charuta Agashe, Alexander Grishin, Julie Wang, Hugh A. Sampson, Scott Sicherer, M. Cecilia Berin, Supinda Bunyavanich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Reaction thresholds in peanut allergy are highly variable. Elucidating causal relationships between molecular and cellular processes associated with variable thresholds could point to therapeutic pathways for raising thresholds. Objective: The aim of this study was to characterize molecular and cellular systemic processes associated with reaction threshold in peanut allergy and causal relationships between them. Methods: A total of 105 children aged 4 to 14 years with suspected peanut allergy underwent double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge to peanut. The cumulative peanut protein quantity eliciting allergic symptoms was considered the reaction threshold for each child. Peripheral blood samples collected at 0, 2, and 4 hours after challenge start were used for RNA sequencing, whole blood staining, and cytometry. Statistical and network analyses were performed to identify associations and causal mediation between the molecular and cellular profiles and peanut reaction threshold. Results: Within the cohort (N = 105), 81 children (77%) experienced allergic reactions after ingesting varying quantities of peanut, ranging from 43 to 9043 mg of cumulative peanut protein. Peripheral blood expression of transcripts (eg, IGF1R [false discovery rate (FDR) = 5.4e–5] and PADI4 [FDR = 5.4e–5]) and neutrophil abundance (FDR = 9.5e–4) were associated with peanut threshold. Coexpression network analyses revealed that the threshold-associated transcripts were enriched in modules for FcγR-mediated phagocytosis (FDR = 3.2e–3) and Toll-like receptor (FDR = 1.4e–3) signaling. Bayesian network, key driver, and causal mediation analyses identified key drivers (AP5B1, KLHL21, VASP, TPD52L2, and IGF2R) within these modules that are involved in bidirectional causal mediation relationships with neutrophil abundance. Conclusion: Key driver transcripts in FcγR-mediated phagocytosis and Toll-like receptor signaling interact bidirectionally with neutrophils in peripheral blood and are associated with reaction threshold in peanut allergy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1721-1728
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2024


  • FcγR-mediated phagocytosis
  • Peanut allergy
  • TLR
  • causal mediation
  • cellular
  • cytometry
  • key driver
  • molecular
  • neutrophil
  • reaction threshold
  • transcriptome
  • transcripts


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