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K-State Today

April 19, 2023

Yoonseong Park to present Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics seminar today

Submitted by Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics

Yoonseong Park, professor of entomology at Kansas State University, will be the featured speaker for this week's Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics seminar. Park will present "Sugars in tick saliva are not sweet in red meat allergy" at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, in 120 Ackert Hall.

Alpha-gal syndrome, AGS, or red-meat allergy, is often a lifelong condition characterized by the clinical manifestation of urticaria and anaphylaxis to dietary red meat. Hyperreaction to a xenoglycan alpha-gal, galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, by enhanced production of IgE antibody results in AGS. In addition, individuals with AGS can have anaphylactic responses to cetuximab, a murine-derived monoclonal antibody against cancer, and the rejection of transplanted porcine cardiac valves. AGS is thought to be caused by a tick bite injecting tick saliva containing aGal, which was demonstrated in the alpha-galactosyltransferase model system, αGT-KO, lacking aGal. Interestingly, AGS occurs only in a subset of people experiencing tick bites, implying the presence of variations in the causal factor, tick bites, and in human response to the tick bites. In this presentation, Park will present studies chasing the AGS variable factors in the lone star tick Amblyomma americanum.

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