Allelic diversity of HMW and LMW glutenin subunits and ω-gliadins in Canadian hard red spring bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) developed over 150 years
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Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is a major cereal crop that is grown around the world. Wheat based products are an important component of human diet as source of calories and proteins. The wheat grain storage proteins are made up of glutenin and gliadin subunits that form gluten in the dough, when wheat flour is mixed with water. The viscoelastic properties of wheat dough lend itself to make diverse food products consumed around the world. During the past few years, wheat gluten has been blamed for increased incidence of some chronic diseases such as obesity and associated cardiovascular ailments and type-2 diabetes. The main objective of this study was to study the diversity in wheat glutenins and gliadins, the two proteins that make up gluten, during 150 years of wheat improvement in Canada. A set of 37 hard red spring wheat cultivars were grown during 2013 and 2014, in a randomized complete block design with four replicates at the Kernen farm, University of Saskatchewan. Cultivars were selected based on the year of release from 1860 to 2007 and subdivided into historical and modern wheats. Historical cultivars included 11 entries released in Canada from 1860 until 1935 and the modern group included 26 cultivars released after 1935 and up to 2007. Gluten protein composition was determined by SDS-PAGE. Most of the genotypes in both groups had the combination Glu-A1b (2*), Glu-B1c (7+9) and Glu-D1d (5+10) for the high molecular weight glutenins (HMW-GS). Another allele that remained stable was the low molecular weight glutenin (LMW-GS) Glu-A3e present in 91% (historical) to 58% (modern) of the cultivars. Most variation was observed in the frequency of appearance of the most common subunits in the LMW-GS Glu-B3 and Glu-D3. For instance, in the historical group, the most common alleles were the Glu-B3b’ (55%) and the Glu-D3a (37%) or Glu-D3b (36%) whereas in modern cultivars Glu-B3h (58%) and the Glu-D3c (58%) were most frequent. Regarding ω-gliadins encoded by the Gli-B1, a relative high proportion of the historical genotypes carried the Gli-B1b subunit whereas in modern cultivars the Gli-B1d (58%) was common. No major alterations in the gluten subunits were observed between the Canadian historical and modern hard red spring wheat cultivars developed over the last century and half. However, subtle differences were found in the HMW-GS and the LMW-GS Glu-A3, and the frequency of appearance in the Glu-D3 and Glu-B3 (LMW-GS) and the Gli-B1 (ω-gliadins). The impact of the alterations on the incidence of Celiac disease is currently being studied.
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