Research ArticlePLANT SCIENCES

Genome mapping of seed-borne allergens and immunoresponsive proteins in wheat

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Science Advances  17 Aug 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 8, eaar8602
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aar8602


Wheat is an important staple grain for humankind globally because of its end-use quality and nutritional properties and its adaptability to diverse climates. For a small proportion of the population, specific wheat proteins can trigger adverse immune responses and clinical manifestations such as celiac disease, wheat allergy, baker’s asthma, and wheat-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (WDEIA). Establishing the content and distribution of the immunostimulatory regions in wheat has been hampered by the complexity of the wheat genome and the lack of complete genome sequence information. We provide novel insights into the wheat grain proteins based on a comprehensive analysis and annotation of the wheat prolamin Pfam clan grain proteins and other non-prolamin allergens implicated in these disorders using the new International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium bread wheat reference genome sequence, RefSeq v1.0. Celiac disease and WDEIA genes are primarily expressed in the starchy endosperm and show wide variation in protein- and transcript-level expression in response to temperature stress. Nonspecific lipid transfer proteins and α-amylase trypsin inhibitor gene families, implicated in baker’s asthma, are primarily expressed in the aleurone layer and transfer cells of grains and are more sensitive to cold temperature. The study establishes a new reference map for immunostimulatory wheat proteins and provides a fresh basis for selecting wheat lines and developing diagnostics for products with more favorable consumer attributes.

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