Mapping Coeliac Toxic Motifs in the Prolamin Seed Storage Proteins of Barley, Rye, and Oats Using a Curated Sequence Database

Matthew Daly, Sophie N Bromilow, Chiara Nitride, Peter R Shewry, Lee A Gethings, E N Clare Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wheat gluten, and related prolamin proteins in rye, barley and oats cause the immune-mediated gluten intolerance syndrome, coeliac disease. Foods labelled as gluten-free which can be safely consumed by coeliac patients, must not contain gluten above a level of 20 mg/Kg. Current immunoassay methods for detection of gluten can give conflicting results and may underestimate levels of gluten in foods. Mass spectrometry methods have great potential as an orthogonal method, but require curated protein sequence databases to support method development. The GluPro database has been updated to include avenin-like sequences from bread wheat (n = 685; GluPro v1.1) and genes from the sequenced wheat genome (n = 699; GluPro v 1.2) and Triticum turgidum ssp durum (n = 210; GluPro v 2.1). Companion databases have been developed for prolamin sequences from barley (n = 64; GluPro v 3.0), rye (n = 41; GluPro v 4.0), and oats (n = 27; GluPro v 5.0) and combined to provide a complete cereal prolamin database, GluPro v 6.1 comprising 1,041 sequences. Analysis of the coeliac toxic motifs in the curated sequences showed that they were absent from the minor avenin-like proteins in bread and durum wheat and barley, unlike the related avenin proteins from oats. A comparison of prolamin proteins from the different cereal species also showed α- and γ-gliadins in bread and durum wheat, and the sulphur poor prolamins in all cereals had the highest density of coeliac toxic motifs. Analysis of ion-mobility mass spectrometry data for bread wheat (cvs Chinese Spring and Hereward) showed an increased number of identifications when using the GluPro v1.0, 1.1 and 1.2 databases compared to the limited number of verified sequences bread wheat sequences in reviewed UniProt. This family of databases will provide a basis for proteomic profiling of gluten proteins from all the gluten containing cereals and support identification of specific peptide markers for use in development of new methods for gluten quantitation based on coeliac toxic motifs found in all relevant cereal species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87
JournalFrontiers in Nutrition
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2020


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