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1.  iTRAQ-based quantitative proteome and phosphoprotein characterization reveals the central metabolism changes involved in wheat grain development 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):1029.
Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is an economically important grain crop. Two-dimensional gel-based approaches are limited by the low identification rate of proteins and lack of accurate protein quantitation. The recently developed isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ) method allows sensitive and accurate protein quantification. Here, we performed the first iTRAQ-based quantitative proteome and phosphorylated proteins analyses during wheat grain development.
The proteome profiles and phosphoprotein characterization of the metabolic proteins during grain development of the elite Chinese bread wheat cultivar Yanyou 361 were studied using the iTRAQ-based quantitative proteome approach, TiO2 microcolumns, and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Among 1,146 non-redundant proteins identified, 421 showed at least 2-fold differences in abundance, and they were identified as differentially expressed proteins (DEPs), including 256 upregulated and 165 downregulated proteins. Of the 421 DEPs, six protein expression patterns were identified, most of which were up, down, and up-down expression patterns. The 421 DEPs were classified into nine functional categories mainly involved in different metabolic processes and located in the membrane and cytoplasm. Hierarchical clustering analysis indicated that the DEPs involved in starch biosynthesis, storage proteins, and defense/stress-related proteins significantly accumulated at the late grain development stages, while those related to protein synthesis/assembly/degradation and photosynthesis showed an opposite expression model during grain development. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis of 12 representative genes encoding different metabolic proteins showed certain transcriptional and translational expression differences during grain development. Phosphorylated proteins analyses demonstrated that 23 DEPs such as AGPase, sucrose synthase, Hsp90, and serpins were phosphorylated in the developing grains and were mainly involved in starch biosynthesis and stress/defense.
Our results revealed a complex quantitative proteome and phosphorylation profile during wheat grain development. Numerous DEPs are involved in grain starch and protein syntheses as well as adverse defense, which set an important basis for wheat yield and quality. Particularly, some key DEPs involved in starch biosynthesis and stress/defense were phosphorylated, suggesting their roles in wheat grain development.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-1029) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4301063  PMID: 25427527
Wheat; Grain proteome; iTRAQ; Phosphoproteins; qRT-PCR
2.  Deletion of the low-molecular-weight glutenin subunit allele Glu-A3a of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) significantly reduces dough strength and breadmaking quality 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14(1):367.
Low-molecular-weight glutenin subunits (LMW-GS), encoded by Glu-3 complex loci in hexaploid wheat, play important roles in the processing quality of wheat flour. To date, the molecular characteristics and effects on dough quality of individual Glu-3 alleles and their encoding proteins have been poorly studied. We used a Glu-A3 deletion line of the Chinese Spring (CS-n) wheat variety to conduct the first comprehensive study on the molecular characteristics and functional properties of the LMW-GS allele Glu-A3a.
The Glu-A3a allele at the Glu-A3 locus in CS and its deletion in CS-n were identified and characterized by proteome and molecular marker methods. The deletion of Glu-A3a had no significant influence on plant morphological and yield traits, but significantly reduced the dough strength and breadmaking quality compared to CS. The complete sequence of the Glu-A3a allele was cloned and characterized, which was found to encode a B-subunit with longer repetitive domains and an increased number of α-helices. The Glu-A3a-encoded B-subunit showed a higher expression level and accumulation rate during grain development. These characteristics of the Glu-A3a allele could contribute to achieving superior gluten quality and demonstrate its potential application to wheat quality improvement. Furthermore, an allele-specific polymerase chain reaction (AS-PCR) marker for the Glu-A3a allele was developed and validated using different bread wheat cultivars, including near-isogenic lines (NILs) and recombinant inbred lines (RILs), which could be used as an effective molecular marker for gluten quality improvement through marker-assisted selection.
This work demonstrated that the LMW-GS allele Glu-A3a encodes a specific LMW-i type B-subunit that significantly affects wheat dough strength and breadmaking quality. The Glu-A3a-encoded B-subunit has a long repetitive domain and more α-helix structures as well as a higher expression level and accumulation rate during grain development, which could facilitate the formation of wheat with a stronger dough structure and superior breadmaking quality.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0367-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4275963  PMID: 25524150
Wheat; Glu-A3a; Molecular cloning; Dough strength; Breadmaking quality
3.  Deciphering the complexities of the wheat flour proteome using quantitative two-dimensional electrophoresis, three proteases and tandem mass spectrometry 
Proteome Science  2011;9:10.
Wheat flour is one of the world's major food ingredients, in part because of the unique end-use qualities conferred by the abundant glutamine- and proline-rich gluten proteins. Many wheat flour proteins also present dietary problems for consumers with celiac disease or wheat allergies. Despite the importance of these proteins it has been particularly challenging to use MS/MS to distinguish the many proteins in a flour sample and relate them to gene sequences.
Grain from the extensively characterized spring wheat cultivar Triticum aestivum 'Butte 86' was milled to white flour from which proteins were extracted, then separated and quantified by 2-DE. Protein spots were identified by separate digestions with three proteases, followed by tandem mass spectrometry analysis of the peptides. The spectra were used to interrogate an improved protein sequence database and results were integrated using the Scaffold program. Inclusion of cultivar specific sequences in the database greatly improved the results, and 233 spots were identified, accounting for 93.1% of normalized spot volume. Identified proteins were assigned to 157 wheat sequences, many for proteins unique to wheat and nearly 40% from Butte 86. Alpha-gliadins accounted for 20.4% of flour protein, low molecular weight glutenin subunits 18.0%, high molecular weight glutenin subunits 17.1%, gamma-gliadins 12.2%, omega-gliadins 10.5%, amylase/protease inhibitors 4.1%, triticins 1.6%, serpins 1.6%, purinins 0.9%, farinins 0.8%, beta-amylase 0.5%, globulins 0.4%, other enzymes and factors 1.9%, and all other 3%.
This is the first successful effort to identify the majority of abundant flour proteins for a single wheat cultivar, relate them to individual gene sequences and estimate their relative levels. Many genes for wheat flour proteins are not expressed, so this study represents further progress in describing the expressed wheat genome. Use of cultivar-specific contigs helped to overcome the difficulties of matching peptides to gene sequences for members of highly similar, rapidly evolving storage protein families. Prospects for simplifying this process for routine analyses are discussed. The ability to measure expression levels for individual flour protein genes complements information gained from efforts to sequence the wheat genome and is essential for studies of effects of environment on gene expression.
PMCID: PMC3238214  PMID: 21314956
4.  Transcriptome analysis during seed germination of elite Chinese bread wheat cultivar Jimai 20 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14:20.
Wheat seed germination directly affects wheat yield and quality. Although transcriptome and proteome analyses during seed germination have been reported in some crop plant species, dynamic transcriptome characterization during wheat seed germination has not been conducted. We performed the first comprehensive dynamic transcriptome analysis during different seed germination stages of elite Chinese bread wheat cultivar Jimai 20 using the Affymetrix Wheat Genome Array.
A total of 61,703 probe sets representing 51,411 transcripts were identified during the five seed germination stages of Jimai 20, of which 2,825 differential expression probe sets corresponding to 2,646 transcripts with different functions were declared by ANOVA and a randomized variance model. The seed germination process included a rapid initial uptake phase (0–12 hours after imbibition [HAI]), a plateau phase (12–24 HAI), and a further water uptake phase (24–48 HAI), corresponding to switches from the degradation of small-molecule sucrose to the metabolism of three major nutrients and to photosynthesis. Hierarchical cluster and MapMan analyses revealed changes in several significant metabolism pathways during seed germination as well as related functional groups. The signal pathway networks constructed with KEGG showed three important genes encoding the phosphofructokinase family protein, with fructose-1, 6-bisphosphatase, and UTP-glucose-1-phosphate uridylyltransferase located at the center, indicating their pivotal roles in the glycolytic pathway, gluconeogenesis, and glycogenesis, respectively. Several significant pathways were selected to establish a metabolic pathway network according to their degree value, which allowed us to find the pathways vital to seed germination. Furthermore, 51 genes involved in transport, signaling pathway, development, lipid metabolism, defense response, nitrogen metabolism, and transcription regulation were analyzed by gene co-expression network with a k-core algorithm to determine which play pivotal roles in germination. Twenty-three meaningful genes were found, and quantitative RT-PCR analysis validated the expression patterns of 12 significant genes.
Wheat seed germination comprises three distinct phases and includes complicated regulation networks involving a large number of genes. These genes belong to many functional groups, and their co-regulations guarantee regular germination. Our results provide new insight into metabolic changes during seed germination and interactions between some significant genes.
PMCID: PMC3923396  PMID: 24410729
Bread wheat; Seed germination; Transcriptome; qRT-PCR
5.  Quantitative and qualitative differences in celiac disease epitopes among durum wheat varieties identified through deep RNA-amplicon sequencing 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:905.
Wheat gluten is important for the industrial quality of bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and durum wheat (T. turgidum L.). Gluten proteins are also the source of immunogenic peptides that can trigger a T cell reaction in celiac disease (CD) patients, leading to inflammatory responses in the small intestine. Various peptides with three major T cell epitopes involved in CD are derived from alpha-gliadin fraction of gluten. Alpha-gliadins are encoded by a large multigene family and amino acid variation in the CD epitopes is known to influence the immunogenicity of individual gene family members. Current commercial methods of gluten detection are unable to distinguish between immunogenic and non-immunogenic CD epitope variants and thus to accurately quantify the overall CD epitope load of a given wheat variety. Such quantification is indispensable for correct selection of wheat varieties with low potential to cause CD.
A 454 RNA-amplicon sequencing method was developed for alpha-gliadin transcripts encompassing the three major CD epitopes and their variants. The method was used to screen developing grains on plants of 61 different durum wheat cultivars and accessions. A dedicated sequence analysis pipeline returned a total of 304 unique alpha-gliadin transcripts, corresponding to a total of 171 ‘unique deduced protein fragments’ of alpha-gliadins. The numbers of these fragments obtained in each plant were used to calculate quantitative and quantitative differences between the CD epitopes expressed in the endosperm of these wheat plants. A few plants showed a lower fraction of CD epitope-encoding alpha-gliadin transcripts, but none were free of CD epitopes.
The dedicated 454 RNA-amplicon sequencing method enables 1) the grouping of wheat plants according to the genetic variation in alpha-gliadin transcripts, and 2) the screening for plants which are potentially less CD-immunogenic. The resulting alpha-gliadin sequence database will be useful as a reference in proteomics analysis regarding the immunogenic potential of mature wheat grains.
PMCID: PMC3890609  PMID: 24354426
6.  The spectrum of low molecular weight alpha-amylase/protease inhibitor genes expressed in the US bread wheat cultivar Butte 86 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:242.
Wheat grains accumulate a variety of low molecular weight proteins that are inhibitors of alpha-amylases and proteases and play an important protective role in the grain. These proteins have more balanced amino acid compositions than the major wheat gluten proteins and contribute important reserves for both seedling growth and human nutrition. The alpha-amylase/protease inhibitors also are of interest because they cause IgE-mediated occupational and food allergies and thereby impact human health.
The complement of genes encoding alpha-amylase/protease inhibitors expressed in the US bread wheat Butte 86 was characterized by analysis of expressed sequence tags (ESTs). Coding sequences for 19 distinct proteins were identified. These included two monomeric (WMAI), four dimeric (WDAI), and six tetrameric (WTAI) inhibitors of exogenous alpha-amylases, two inhibitors of endogenous alpha-amylases (WASI), four putative trypsin inhibitors (CMx and WTI), and one putative chymotrypsin inhibitor (WCI). A number of the encoded proteins were identical or very similar to proteins in the NCBI database. Sequences not reported previously included variants of WTAI-CM3, three CMx inhibitors and WTI. Within the WDAI group, two different genes encoded the same mature protein. Based on numbers of ESTs, transcripts for WTAI-CM3 Bu-1, WMAI Bu-1 and WTAI-CM16 Bu-1 were most abundant in Butte 86 developing grain. Coding sequences for 16 of the inhibitors were unequivocally associated with specific proteins identified by tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) in a previous proteomic analysis of milled white flour from Butte 86. Proteins corresponding to WDAI Bu-1/Bu-2, WMAI Bu-1 and the WTAI subunits CM2 Bu-1, CM3 Bu-1 and CM16 Bu-1 were accumulated to the highest levels in flour.
Information on the spectrum of alpha-amylase/protease inhibitor genes and proteins expressed in a single wheat cultivar is central to understanding the importance of these proteins in both plant defense mechanisms and human allergies and facilitates both breeding and biotechnology approaches for manipulating the composition of these proteins in plants.
PMCID: PMC3154163  PMID: 21774824
allergens; expressed sequence tags; plant defense proteins; tandem mass spectrometry
7.  Discovery, distribution and diversity of Puroindoline-D1 genes in bread wheat from five countries (Triticum aestivum L.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:125.
Grain texture is one of the most important characteristics in bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Puroindoline-D1 genes play the main role in controlling grain texture and are intimately associated with the milling and processing qualities in bread wheat.
A series of diagnostic molecular markers and dCAPS markers were used to characterize Pina-D1 and Pinb-D1 in 493 wheat cultivars from diverse geographic locations. A primer walking strategy was used to characterize PINA-null alleles at the DNA level. Results indicated that Chinese landraces encompassing 12 different Puroindoline-D1 allelic combinations showed the highest diversity, while CIMMYT wheat cultivars containing 3 different Puroindoline-D1 allelic combinations showed the lowest diversity amongst wheat cultivars from the five countries surveyed. Two novel Pina-D1 alleles, designated Pina-D1s with a 4,422-bp deletion and Pina-D1u with a 6,460-bp deletion in the Ha (Hardness) locus, were characterized at the DNA level by a primer walking strategy, and corresponding molecular markers Pina-N3 and Pina-N4 were developed for straightforward identification of the Pina-D1s and Pina-D1u alleles. Analysis of the association of Puroindoline-D1 alleles with grain texture indicated that wheat cultivars with Pina-null/Pinb-null allele, possessing an approximate 33-kb deletion in the Ha locus, have the highest SKCS hardness index amongst the different genotypes used in this study. Moreover, wheat cultivars with the PINA-null allele have significantly higher SKCS hardness index than those of Pinb-D1b and Pinb-D1p alleles.
Molecular characterization of the Puroindoline-D1 allele was investigated in bread wheat cultivars from five geographic regions, resulting in the discovery of two new alleles - Pina-D1s and Pina-D1u. Molecular markers were developed for both alleles. Analysis of the association of the Puroindoline-D1 alleles with grain texture showed that cultivars with PINA-null allele possessed relatively high SKCS hardness index. This study can provide useful information for the improvement of wheat quality, as well as give a deeper understanding of the molecular and genetic processes controlling grain texture in bread wheat.
PMCID: PMC3844508  PMID: 24011219
Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.); Puroindoline-D1 genes; Grain texture; Primer walking; Functional marker
8.  Molecular and Immunological Characterization of Gluten Proteins Isolated from Oat Cultivars That Differ in Toxicity for Celiac Disease 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e48365.
A strict gluten-free diet (GFD) is the only currently available therapeutic treatment for patients with celiac disease (CD). Traditionally, treatment with a GFD has excluded wheat, barley and rye, while the presence of oats is a subject of debate. The most-recent research indicates that some cultivars of oats can be a safe part of a GFD. In order to elucidate the toxicity of the prolamins from oat varieties with low, medium, and high CD toxicity, the avenin genes of these varieties were cloned and sequenced, and their expression quantified throughout the grain development. At the protein level, we have accomplished an exhaustive characterization and quantification of avenins by RP-HPLC and an analysis of immunogenicity of peptides present in prolamins of different oat cultivars. Avenin sequences were classified into three different groups, which have homology with S-rich prolamins of Triticeae. Avenin proteins presented a lower proline content than that of wheat gliadin; this may contribute to the low toxicity shown by oat avenins. The expression of avenin genes throughout the development stages has shown a pattern similar to that of prolamins of wheat and barley. RP-HPLC chromatograms showed protein peaks in the alcohol-soluble and reduced-soluble fractions. Therefore, oat grains had both monomeric and polymeric avenins, termed in this paper gliadin- and glutenin-like avenins. We found a direct correlation between the immunogenicity of the different oat varieties and the presence of the specific peptides with a higher/lower potential immunotoxicity. The specific peptides from the oat variety with the highest toxicity have shown a higher potential immunotoxicity. These results suggest that there is wide range of variation of potential immunotoxicity of oat cultivars that could be due to differences in the degree of immunogenicity in their sequences.
PMCID: PMC3524229  PMID: 23284616
9.  Protein composition of wheat gluten polymer fractions determined by quantitative two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and tandem mass spectrometry 
Proteome Science  2014;12:8.
Certain wheat gluten proteins form large protein polymers that are extractable in 0.5% SDS only after sonication. Although there is a strong relationship between the amounts of these polymers in the flour and bread-making quality, the protein components of these polymers have not been thoroughly investigated.
Flour proteins from the US bread wheat Butte 86 were extracted in 0.5% SDS using a two-step procedure with and without sonication. Proteins were further separated by size exclusion chromatography (SEC) into monomeric and polymeric fractions and analyzed by quantitative two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE). When proteins in select 2-DE spots were identified by tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS), overlapping spots from the different protein fractions often yielded different identifications. Most high-molecular-weight glutenin subunits (HMW-GS) and low-molecular-weight glutenin subunits (LMW-GS) partitioned into the polymer fractions, while most gliadins were found in the monomer fractions. The exceptions were alpha, gamma and omega gliadins containing odd numbers of cysteine residues. These proteins were detected in all fractions, but comprised the largest proportion of the SDS-extractable polymer fraction. Several types of non-gluten proteins also were found in the polymer fractions, including serpins, triticins and globulins. All three types were found in the largest proportions in the SDS-extractable polymer fraction.
This is the first study to report the accumulation of gliadins containing odd numbers of cysteine residues in the SDS-extractable glutenin polymer fraction, supporting the hypothesis that these gliadins serve as chain terminators of the polymer chains. These data make it possible to formulate hypotheses about how protein composition influences polymer size and structure and provide a foundation for future experiments aimed at determining how environment affects glutenin polymer distribution. In addition, the analysis revealed additional layers of complexity to the wheat flour proteome that should be considered when evaluating quantitative 2-DE data.
PMCID: PMC4016294  PMID: 24517725
Chain-terminating gliadins; Gluten polymer; Size-exclusion chromatography; Wheat flour quality
10.  Comparative proteomic analysis of the effect of temperature and fertilizer on gliadin and glutenin accumulation in the developing endosperm and flour from Triticum aestivum L. cv. Butte 86 
Proteome Science  2013;11:8.
Flour quality is largely determined by the gluten proteins, a complex mixture of proteins consisting of high molecular weight-glutenin subunits (HMW-GS), low molecular weight-glutenin subunits (LMW-GS), and α-, γ-, and ω-gliadins. Detailed proteomic analyses of the effects of fertilizer and high temperature on individual gliadin and glutenin protein levels are needed to determine how these environmental factors influence flour quality.
Wheat plants (Triticum aestivum L. cv. Butte 86) were grown in greenhouses under moderate and high temperature regimens with and without post-anthesis fertilizer. Quantitative two-dimensional gel electrophoresis was used to construct accumulation profiles in developing endosperm for the entire complement of gluten proteins identified previously by tandem mass spectrometry. Amounts of individual gliadins and glutenins were also determined in flour produced under each of the regimens. Under all environmental regimens, most HMW-GS, LMW-GS, γ- and ω-gliadins accumulated rapidly during early stages of grain development and leveled off during middle stages of development. A subset of LMW-GS showed a second distinct profile, accumulating throughout development, while α-gliadins showed a variety of accumulation profiles. In flour, fourteen distinct gluten proteins responded similarly to fertilizer, high temperature, and high temperature plus fertilizer. The majority of HMW-GS and ω-gliadins and some α-gliadins increased while two LMW-GS and a minor γ-gliadin decreased. Fertilizer did not influence gluten protein accumulation under high temperature conditions. Additionally, the effects of fertilizer and high temperature were not additive; very few changes were observed when plants that received fertilizer were subjected to high temperature.
Although post-anthesis temperature and fertilizer have very different effects on grain development and yield, the two treatments elicit surprisingly similar effects on the accumulation of gluten proteins. The similarity of the responses to the different treatments is likely due to source-sink activities of nitrogen reserves in the wheat plant. Because each protein that showed a response in this study is linked to a gene sequence, the work sets the stage for transgenic studies that will better elucidate the roles of specific proteins in flour quality and in the response to the environment.
PMCID: PMC3599944  PMID: 23432757
Endosperm; Fertilizer; Flour; Gliadins; Glutenins; Proteome; Temperature; Wheat
11.  Effects of nitrogen nutrition on the synthesis and deposition of the ω-gliadins of wheat 
Annals of Botany  2013;113(4):607-615.
Background and Aims
The ω-gliadin storage proteins of wheat are of interest in relation to their impact on grain processing properties and their role in food allergy, particularly the ω-5 sub-group and wheat-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis. The ω-gliadins are also known to be responsive to nitrogen application. This study therefore compares the effects of cultivar and nitrogen availability on the synthesis and deposition of ω-gliadins in wheat grown under field conditions in the UK, including temporal and spatial analyses at the protein and transcript levels.
SDS–PAGE, western blotting and N-terminal amino acid sequencing were used to compare the patterns of ω-gliadin components in mature grain of six British wheat (Triticum aestivum) cultivars and their accumulation during the development of grain grown in field plots with varying nitrogen supply. Changes in gene expression during development were determined using real-time reverse transcription–PCR (RT–PCR). Spatial patterns of gene expression and protein accumulation were determined by in situ hybridization and immunofluorescence microscopy, respectively.
Key Results
Two patterns of ω-gliadins were identified in the six cultivars, including both monomeric ‘gliadin’ proteins and subunits present in polymeric ‘glutenin’ fractions. Increasing the level of nitrogen fertilizer in field plots resulted in increased expression of ω-gliadin transcripts and increased proportions of ω-5 gliadins. Nitrogen supply also affected the spatial patterns of ω-gliadin synthesis and deposition, which were differentially increased in the outer layers of the starchy endosperm with high levels of nitrogen.
Wheat ω-gliadins vary in amount and composition between cultivars, and in their response to nitrogen supply. Their spatial distribution is also affected by nitrogen supply, being most highly concentrated in the sub-aleurone cells of the starchy endosperm under higher nitrogen availability.
PMCID: PMC3936585  PMID: 24344140
Wheat; Triticum aestivum; storage protein; nitrogen; ω-gliadin; RNA in situ hybridization; immunolocalization; protein bodies; wheat allergy
12.  Molecular Mechanisms of HMW Glutenin Subunits from 1Sl Genome of Aegilops longissima Positively Affecting Wheat Breadmaking Quality 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e58947.
A wheat cultivar “Chinese Spring” chromosome substitution line CS-1Sl(1B), in which the 1B chromosome was substituted by 1Sl from Aegilops longissima, was developed and found to possess superior dough and breadmaking quality. The molecular mechanism of its super quality conformation is studied in the aspects of high molecular glutenin genes, protein accumulation patterns, glutenin polymeric proteins, protein bodies, starch granules, and protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) and PDI-like protein expressions. Results showed that the introduced HMW-GS 1Sl×2.3* and 1Sly16* in the substitution line possesses long repetitive domain, making both be larger than any known x- and y-type subunits from B genome. The introduced subunit genes were also found to have a higher level of mRNA expressions during grain development, resulting in more HMW-GS accumulation in the mature grains. A higher abundance of PDI and PDI-like proteins was observed which possess a known function of assisting disulfide bond formation. Larger HMW-GS deposited in protein bodies were also found in the substitution line. The CS substitution line is expected to be highly valuable in wheat quality improvement since the novel HMW-GS are located on chromosome 1Sl, making it possible to combine with the known superior D×5+Dy10 subunits encoded by Glu-D1 for developing high quality bread wheat.
PMCID: PMC3617193  PMID: 23593125
13.  Homologous haplotypes, expression, genetic effects and geographic distribution of the wheat yield gene TaGW2 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14:107.
TaGW2-6A, cloned in earlier research, strongly influences wheat grain width and TKW. Here, we mainly analyzed haplotypes of TaGW2-6B and their effects on TKW and interaction with haplotypes at TaGW2-6A.
About 2.9 kb of the promoter sequences of TaGW2-6B and TaGW2-6D were cloned in 34 bread wheat cultivars. Eleven SNPs were detected in the promoter region of TaGW2-6B, forming 4 haplotypes, but no divergence was detected in the TaGW2-6D promoter or coding region. Three molecular markers including CAPS, dCAPS and ACAS, were developed to distinguish the TaGW2-6B haplotypes. Haplotype association analysis indicated that TaGW2-6B has a stronger influence than TaGW2-6A on TKW, and Hap-6B-1 was a favored haplotype increasing grain width and weight that had undergone strong positive selection in global wheat breeding. However, clear geographic distribution differences for TaGW2-6A haplotypes were found; Hap-6A-A was favored in Chinese, Australian and Russian cultivars, whereas Hap-6A-G was preferred in European, American and CIMMYT cultivars. This difference might be caused by a flowering and maturity time difference between the two haplotypes. Hap-6A-A is the earlier type. Haplotype interaction analysis between TaGW2-6A and TaGW2-6B showed additive effects between the favored haplotypes. Hap-6A-A/Hap-6B-1 was the best combination to increase TKW. Relative expression analysis of the three TaGW2 homoeologous genes in 22 cultivars revealed that TaGW2-6A underwent the highest expression. TaGW2-6D was the least expressed during grain development and TaGW2-6B was intermediate. Diversity of the three genes was negatively correlated with their effect on TKW.
Genetic effects, expression patterns and historic changes of haplotypes at three homoeologous genes of TaGW2 influencing yield were dissected in wheat cultivars. Strong and constant selection to favored haplotypes has been found in global wheat breeding during the past century. This research also provides a valuable case for understanding interaction of genes that control complex traits in polyploid species.
PMCID: PMC4021350  PMID: 24766773
Triticum aestivum; TaGW2; Grain weight; Gene expression; Haplotype interaction
14.  Trafficking of storage proteins in developing grain of wheat 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2009;60(3):979-991.
The processing properties of the wheat flour are largely determined by the structures and interactions of the grain storage proteins (also called gluten proteins) which form a continuous visco-elastic network in dough. Wheat gluten proteins are classically divided into two groups, the monomeric gliadins and the polymeric glutenins, with the latter being further classified into low molecular weight (LMW) and high molecular weight (HMW) subunits. The synthesis, folding and deposition of the gluten proteins take place within the endomembrane system of the plant cell. However, determination of the precise routes of trafficking and deposition of individual gluten proteins in developing wheat grain has been limited in the past by the difficulty of developing monospecific antibodies. To overcome this limitation, a single gluten protein (a LMW subunit) was expressed in transgenic wheat with a C-terminal epitope tag, allowing the protein to be located in the cells of the developing grain using highly specific antibodies. This approach was also combined with the use of wider specificity antibodies to compare the trafficking and deposition of different gluten protein groups within the same endosperm cells. These studies are in agreement with previous suggestions that two trafficking pathways occur in wheat, with the proteins either being transported via the Golgi apparatus into the vacuole or accumulating directly within the lumen of the ER. They also suggest that the same individual protein could be trafficked by either pathway, possibly depending on the stage of development, and that segregation of gluten proteins both between and within protein bodies may occur.
PMCID: PMC2652050  PMID: 19174462
Epitope tagging; gluten; immunolocalization; protein bodies; protein trafficking; wheat grain
15.  Molecular characterization of LMW-GS genes in Brachypodium distachyon L. reveals highly conserved Glu-3 loci in Triticum and related species 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:221.
Brachypodium distachyon L. is a newly emerging model plant system for temperate cereal crop species. However, its grain protein compositions are still not clear. In the current study, we carried out a detailed proteomics and molecular genetics study on grain glutenin proteins in B. distachyon.
SDS-PAGE and RP-HPLC analysis of grain proteins showed that Brachypodium has few gliadins and high molecular weight glutenin subunits. In contrast the electrophoretic patterns for the albumin, globulin and low molecular weight glutenin subunit (LMW-GS) fractions of the grain protein were similar to those in wheat. In particular, the LMW-C type subunits in Brachypodium were more abundant than the equivalent proteins in common wheat. Southern blotting analysis confirmed that Brachypodium has 4–5 copies of LMW-GS genes. A total of 18 LMW-GS genes were cloned from Brachypodium by allele specific PCR. LMW-GS and 4 deduced amino acid sequences were further confirmed by using Western-blotting and MALDI-TOF-MS. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that Brachypodium was closer to Ae. markgrafii and Ae. umbellulata than to T. aestivum.
Brachypodium possessed a highly conserved Glu-3 locus that is closely related to Triticum and related species. The presence of LMW-GS in B. distachyon grains indicates that B. distachyon may be used as a model system for studying wheat quality attributes.
PMCID: PMC3547698  PMID: 23171363
16.  The Interactive Effects of Transgenically Overexpressed 1Ax1 with Various HMW-GS Combinations on Dough Quality by Introgression of Exogenous Subunits into an Elite Chinese Wheat Variety 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e78451.
Seed storage proteins in wheat endosperm, particularly high-molecular-weight glutenin subunits (HMW-GS), are primary determinants of dough properties, and affect both end-use quality and grain utilization of wheat (Triticum aestivum L). In order to investigate the interactive effects between the transgenically overexpressed 1Ax1 subunit with different HMW-GS on dough quality traits, we developed a set of 8 introgression lines (ILs) overexpressing the transgenic HMW-glutenin subunit 1Ax1 by introgression of this transgene from transgenic line B102-1-2/1 into an elite Chinese wheat variety Chuanmai107 (C107), using conventional crossing and backcrossing breeding technique. The donor C107 strain lacks 1Ax1 but contains the HMW-GS pairs 1Dx2+1Dy12 and 1Bx7+1By9. The resultant ILs showed robust and stable expression of 1Ax1 even after five generations of self-pollination, and crossing/backcrossing three times. In addition, overexpression of 1Ax1 was compensated by the endogenous gluten proteins. All ILs exhibited superior agronomic performance when compared to the transgenic parent line, B102-1-2/1. Mixograph results demonstrated that overexpressed 1Ax1 significantly improved dough strength, resistance to extension and over-mixing tolerance, in the targeted wheat cultivar C107. Further, comparisons among the ILs showed the interactive effects of endogenous subunits on dough properties when 1Ax1 was overexpressed: subunit pair 17+18 contributed to increased over-mixing tolerance of the dough; expression of the Glu-D1 allele maintained an appropriate balance between x-type and y-type subunits and thereby improved dough quality. It is consistent with ILs C4 (HMW-GS are 1, 17+18, 2+12) had the highest gluten index and Zeleny sedimentation value. This study demonstrates that wheat quality could be improved by using transgenic wheat overexpressing HMW-GS and the feasibility of using such transgenic lines in wheat quality breeding programs.
PMCID: PMC3805546  PMID: 24167625
17.  Effect of Glu-B3 Allelic Variation on Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate Sedimentation Volume in Common Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) 
The Scientific World Journal  2013;2013:848549.
Sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) sedimentation volume has long been used to characterize wheat flours and meals with the aim of predicting processing and end-product qualities. In order to survey the influence of low-molecular-weight glutenin subunits (LMW-GSs) at Glu-B3 locus on wheat SDS sedimentation volume, a total of 283 wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) varieties including landraces and improved and introduced cultivars were analyzed using 10 allele-specific PCR markers at the Glu-B3 locus. The highest allele frequency observed in the tested varieties was Glu-B3i with 21.9% in all varieties, 21.1% in landraces, 25.5% in improved cultivars, and 12% in introduced cultivars. Glu-B3 locus represented 8.6% of the variance in wheat SDS sedimentation volume, and Glu-B3b, Glu-B3g, and Glu-B3h significantly heightened the SDS sedimentation volume, but Glu-B3a, Glu-B3c, and Glu-B3j significantly lowered the SDS sedimentation volume. For the bread-making quality, the most desirable alleles Glu-B3b and Glu-B3g become more and more popular and the least desirable alleles Glu-B3a and Glu-B3c got less and less in modern improved cultivars, suggesting that wheat grain quality in China has been significantly improved through breeding effort.
PMCID: PMC3703908  PMID: 23861659
18.  Distribution of gluten proteins in bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) grain 
Annals of Botany  2011;108(1):23-35.
Background and Aims
Gluten proteins are the major storage protein fraction in the mature wheat grain. They are restricted to the starchy endosperm, which forms white flour on milling, and interact during grain development to form large polymers which form a continuous proteinaceous network when flour is mixed with water to give dough. This network confers viscosity and elasticity to the dough, enabling the production of leavened products. The starchy endosperm is not a homogeneous tissue and quantitative and qualitative gradients exist for the major components: protein, starch and cell wall polysaccharides. Gradients in protein content and composition are the most evident and are of particular interest because of the major role played by the gluten proteins in determining grain processing quality.
Protein gradients in the starchy endosperm were investigated using antibodies for specific gluten protein types for immunolocalization in developing grains and for western blot analysis of protein extracts from flour fractions obtained by sequential abrasion (pearling) to prepare tissue layers.
Key Results
Differential patterns of distribution were found for the high-molecular-weight subunits of glutenin (HMW-GS) and γ-gliadins when compared with the low-molecular-weight subunits of glutenin (LMW-GS), ω- and α-gliadins. The first two types of gluten protein are more abundant in the inner endosperm layers and the latter more abundant in the subaleurone. Immunolocalization also showed that segregation of gluten proteins occurs both between and within protein bodies during protein deposition and may still be retained in the mature grain.
Quantitative and qualitative gradients in gluten protein composition are established during grain development. These gradients may be due to the origin of subaleurone cells, which unlike other starchy endosperm cells derive from the re-differentiation of aleurone cells, but could also result from the action of specific regulatory signals produced by the maternal tissue on specific domains of the gluten protein gene promoters.
PMCID: PMC3119610  PMID: 21693664
Triticum aestivum; wheat grain; gluten proteins; bread wheat; immunolocalization; protein bodies; pearling
19.  Celiac disease T-cell epitopes from gamma-gliadins: immunoreactivity depends on the genome of origin, transcript frequency, and flanking protein variation 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:277.
Celiac disease (CD) is caused by an uncontrolled immune response to gluten, a heterogeneous mixture of wheat storage proteins. The CD-toxicity of these proteins and their derived peptides is depending on the presence of specific T-cell epitopes (9-mer peptides; CD epitopes) that mediate the stimulation of HLA-DQ2/8 restricted T-cells. Next to the thoroughly characterized major T-cell epitopes derived from the α-gliadin fraction of gluten, γ-gliadin peptides are also known to stimulate T-cells of celiac disease patients. To pinpoint CD-toxic γ-gliadins in hexaploid bread wheat, we examined the variation of T-cell epitopes involved in CD in γ-gliadin transcripts of developing bread wheat grains.
A detailed analysis of the genetic variation present in γ-gliadin transcripts of bread wheat (T. aestivum, allo-hexaploid, carrying the A, B and D genome), together with genomic γ-gliadin sequences from ancestrally related diploid wheat species, enabled the assignment of sequence variants to one of the three genomic γ-gliadin loci, Gli-A1, Gli-B1 or Gli-D1. Almost half of the γ-gliadin transcripts of bread wheat (49%) was assigned to locus Gli-D1. Transcripts from each locus differed in CD epitope content and composition. The Gli-D1 transcripts contained the highest frequency of canonical CD epitope cores (on average 10.1 per transcript) followed by the Gli-A1 transcripts (8.6) and the Gli-B1 transcripts (5.4). The natural variants of the major CD epitope from γ-gliadins, DQ2-γ-I, showed variation in their capacity to induce in vitro proliferation of a DQ2-γ-I specific and HLA-DQ2 restricted T-cell clone.
Evaluating the CD epitopes derived from γ-gliadins in their natural context of flanking protein variation, genome specificity and transcript frequency is a significant step towards accurate quantification of the CD toxicity of bread wheat. This approach can be used to predict relative levels of CD toxicity of individual wheat cultivars directly from their transcripts (cDNAs).
PMCID: PMC3469346  PMID: 22726570
Wheat; Gluten; γ-gliadins; Celiac disease; T-cell epitopes
20.  Jasmonate and ethylene dependent defence gene expression and suppression of fungal virulence factors: two essential mechanisms of Fusarium head blight resistance in wheat? 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:369.
Fusarium head blight (FHB) caused by Fusarium species like F. graminearum is a devastating disease of wheat (Triticum aestivum) worldwide. Mycotoxins such as deoxynivalenol produced by the fungus affect plant and animal health, and cause significant reductions of grain yield and quality. Resistant varieties are the only effective way to control this disease, but the molecular events leading to FHB resistance are still poorly understood. Transcriptional profiling was conducted for the winter wheat cultivars Dream (moderately resistant) and Lynx (susceptible). The gene expressions at 32 and 72 h after inoculation with Fusarium were used to trace possible defence mechanisms and associated genes. A comparative qPCR was carried out for selected genes to analyse the respective expression patterns in the resistant cultivars Dream and Sumai 3 (Chinese spring wheat).
Among 2,169 differentially expressed genes, two putative main defence mechanisms were found in the FHB-resistant Dream cultivar. Both are defined base on their specific mode of resistance. A non-specific mechanism was based on several defence genes probably induced by jasmonate and ethylene signalling, including lipid-transfer protein, thionin, defensin and GDSL-like lipase genes. Additionally, defence-related genes encoding jasmonate-regulated proteins were up-regulated in response to FHB. Another mechanism based on the targeted suppression of essential Fusarium virulence factors comprising proteases and mycotoxins was found to be an essential, induced defence of general relevance in wheat. Moreover, similar inductions upon fungal infection were frequently observed among FHB-responsive genes of both mechanisms in the cultivars Dream and Sumai 3.
Especially ABC transporter, UDP-glucosyltransferase, protease and protease inhibitor genes associated with the defence mechanism against fungal virulence factors are apparently active in different resistant genetic backgrounds, according to reports on other wheat cultivars and barley. This was further supported in our qPCR experiments on seven genes originating from this mechanism which revealed similar activities in the resistant cultivars Dream and Sumai 3. Finally, the combination of early-stage and steady-state induction was associated with resistance, while transcript induction generally occurred later and temporarily in the susceptible cultivars. The respective mechanisms are attractive for advanced studies aiming at new resistance and toxin management strategies.
PMCID: PMC3533685  PMID: 22857656
21.  Association study of wheat grain protein composition reveals that gliadin and glutenin composition are trans-regulated by different chromosome regions 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2013;64(12):3627-3644.
Wheat grain storage protein (GSP) content and composition are the main determinants of the end-use value of bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) grain. The accumulation of glutenins and gliadins, the two main classes of GSP in wheat, is believed to be mainly controlled at the transcriptional level through a network of transcription factors. This regulation network could lead to stable cross-environment allometric scaling relationships between the quantity of GSP classes/subunits and the total quantity of nitrogen per grain. This work conducted a genetic mapping study of GSP content and composition and allometric scaling parameters of grain N allocation using a bread wheat worldwide core collection grown in three environments. The core collection was genotyped with 873 markers for genome-wide association and 167 single nucleotide polymorphism markers in 51 candidate genes for candidate association. The candidate genes included 35 transcription factors (TFs) expressed in grain. This work identified 74 loci associated with 38 variables, of which 19 were candidate genes or were tightly linked with candidate genes. Besides structural GSP genes, several loci putatively trans-regulating GSP accumulation were identified. Seven candidate TFs, including four wheat orthologues of barley TFs that control hordein gene expression, were associated or in strong linkage disequilibrium with markers associated with the composition or quantity of glutenin or gliadin, or allometric grain N allocation parameters, confirming the importance of the transcriptional control of GSP accumulation. Genome-wide association results suggest that the genes regulating glutenin and gliadin compositions are mostly distinct from each other and operate differently.
PMCID: PMC3745720  PMID: 23881399
Association study; bread wheat; ecophysiological model; grain composition; storage proteins; transcription factors; Triticum aestivum.
22.  Effects of Genotype, Season, and Nitrogen Nutrition on Gene Expression and Protein Accumulation in Wheat Grain 
Six commercial U.K. cultivars of winter wheat selected to represent different abilities to partition nitrogen into grain protein were grown in replicated field trials at five different sites over three seasons. The proportion of LMW glutenin subunits decreased and the proportion of gliadins increased during grain development and in response to N application. Differences were observed between the proportions of LMW glutenin subunits and gliadins in low- and high-protein grain, these two fractions being decreased and increased, respectively. There was little effect of grain protein content on the proportions of either the HMW glutenin subunits or large glutenin polymers, which are enriched in these subunits, with the latter increasing during development in all cultivars. The proportion of total protein present in polymers in the mature grain decreased with increasing N level. Correlations were also observed between the abundances of gliadin protein transcripts and the corresponding proteins.
PMCID: PMC4073652  PMID: 24786983
wheat; grain quality; grain protein; flour functionality
23.  Transcriptional profiling in response to terminal drought stress reveals differential responses along the wheat genome 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:279.
Water stress during grain filling has a marked effect on grain yield, leading to a reduced endosperm cell number and thus sink capacity to accumulate dry matter. The bread wheat cultivar Chinese Spring (CS), a Chinese Spring terminal deletion line (CS_5AL-10) and the durum wheat cultivar Creso were subjected to transcriptional profiling after exposure to mild and severe drought stress at the grain filling stage to find evidences of differential stress responses associated to different wheat genome regions.
The transcriptome analysis of Creso, CS and its deletion line revealed 8,552 non redundant probe sets with different expression levels, mainly due to the comparisons between the two species. The drought treatments modified the expression of 3,056 probe sets. Besides a set of genes showing a similar drought response in Creso and CS, cluster analysis revealed several drought response features that can be associated to the different genomic structure of Creso, CS and CS_5AL-10. Some drought-related genes were expressed at lower level (or not expressed) in Creso (which lacks the D genome) or in the CS_5AL-10 deletion line compared to CS. The chromosome location of a set of these genes was confirmed by PCR-based mapping on the D genome (or the 5AL-10 region). Many clusters were characterized by different level of expression in Creso, CS and CS_AL-10, suggesting that the different genome organization of the three genotypes may affect plant adaptation to stress. Clusters with similar expression trend were grouped and functional classified to mine the biological mean of their activation or repression. Genes involved in ABA, proline, glycine-betaine and sorbitol pathways were found up-regulated by drought stress. Furthermore, the enhanced expression of a set of transposons and retrotransposons was detected in CS_5AL-10.
Bread and durum wheat genotypes were characterized by a different physiological reaction to water stress and by a substantially different molecular response. The genome organization accounted for differences in the expression level of hundreds of genes located on the D genome or controlled by regulators located on the D genome. When a genomic stress (deletion of a chromosomal region) was combined with low water availability, a molecular response based on the activation of transposons and retrotransposons was observed.
PMCID: PMC2713995  PMID: 19552804
24.  Self-Organized Crystallization Patterns from Evaporating Droplets of Common Wheat Grain Leakages as a Potential Tool for Quality Analysis 
TheScientificWorldJournal  2011;11:1712-1725.
We studied the evaporation-induced pattern formation in droplets of common wheat kernel leakages prepared out of ancient and modern wheat cultivars as a possible tool for wheat quality analysis. The experiments showed that the substances which passed into the water during the soaking of the kernels created crystalline structures with different degrees of complexity while the droplets were evaporating. The forms ranged from spots and simple structures with single ramifications, through dendrites, up to highly organized hexagonal shapes and fractal-like structures. The patterns were observed and photographed using dark field microscopy in small magnifications. The evaluation of the patterns was performed both visually and by means of the fractal dimension analysis. From the results, it can be inferred that the wheat cultivars differed in their pattern-forming capacities. Two of the analyzed wheat cultivars showed poor pattern formation, whereas another two created well-formed and complex patterns. Additionally, the wheat cultivars were analyzed for their vigor by means of the germination test and measurement of the electrical conductivity of the grain leakages. The results showed that the more vigorous cultivars also created more complex patterns, whereas the weaker cultivars created predominantly poor forms. This observation suggests a correlation between the wheat seed quality and droplet evaporation patterns.
PMCID: PMC3201687  PMID: 22125430
wheat seed quality; droplet evaporation method; dark field microscopy; pattern formation; self organization; self assembly; visual evaluation; fractal dimension analysis; seed vitality
25.  Effects of high temperature after anthesis on starch granules in grains of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) 
The Journal of Agricultural Science  2010;149(2):159-169.
The effect of high temperatures (above 25°C) on starch concentration and the morphology of starch granules in the grains of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) were studied. Wheat plants of cultivars Yangmai 9 (weak-gluten) and Yangmai 12 (medium-gluten) were treated with high temperatures for 3 days at different times after anthesis. The results showed that the starch concentration of grains given a heat-shock treatment above 30°C were lower than those developing at normal temperature in both cultivars. High temperature lowered starch concentration due to the decrease of amylopectin. Under the same temperature, the effect of heat shock from 6 to 8 days after anthesis (DAA) was the greatest, whereas from 36 to 38 DAA the effect was the least. The effects of high temperatures after anthesis on starch-pasting properties were similar to those on starch concentration, especially after 35–40°C treatments. The size, shape and structure of starch granules in wheat grains (determined by electron microscopy) after heat shock were visibly different from the control. When given heat shock during development, the starch granules in mature wheat grains were ellipsoid in shape and bound loosely with a protein sheath in Yangmai 9, while they were damaged and compressed with fissures in Yangmai 12, indicating the differences in resistance to high temperature between cultivars. Ratios of large (type-A) and small (type-B) starch granules significantly decreased under heat shock, which limited the potential sink size for dry matter deposition in the grain.
PMCID: PMC3320814  PMID: 22505772

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