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Composition and functional analysis of low-molecular-weight glutenin alleles with Aroona near-isogenic lines of bread wheat

Xiaofei Zhang12, Hui Jin1, Yan Zhang1, Dongcheng Liu2, Genying Li3, Xianchun Xia1, Zhonghu He14* and Aimin Zhang2*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Crop Science, National Wheat Improvement Center, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), 12 Zhongguancun South Street, Beijing, 100081, China

2 State Key Laboratory of Plant Cell and Chromosome Engineering, National Center for Plant Gene Research, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1 West Beichen Road, Beijing, 100101, China

3 Crop Research Institute, Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Jinan, 250100, Shandong, China

4 International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) China Office, c/o CAAS, 12 Zhongguancun South Street, Beijing, 100081, China

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BMC Plant Biology 2012, 12:243  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-12-243

Published: 22 December 2012



Low-molecular-weight glutenin subunits (LMW-GS) strongly influence the bread-making quality of bread wheat. These proteins are encoded by a multi-gene family located at the Glu-A3, Glu-B3 and Glu-D3 loci on the short arms of homoeologous group 1 chromosomes, and show high allelic variation. To characterize the genetic and protein compositions of LMW-GS alleles, we investigated 16 Aroona near-isogenic lines (NILs) using SDS-PAGE, 2D-PAGE and the LMW-GS gene marker system. Moreover, the composition of glutenin macro-polymers, dough properties and pan bread quality parameters were determined for functional analysis of LMW-GS alleles in the NILs.


Using the LMW-GS gene marker system, 14–20 LMW-GS genes were identified in individual NILs. At the Glu-A3 locus, two m-type and 2–4 i-type genes were identified and their allelic variants showed high polymorphisms in length and nucleotide sequences. The Glu-A3d allele possessed three active genes, the highest number among Glu-A3 alleles. At the Glu-B3 locus, 2–3 m-type and 1–3 s-type genes were identified from individual NILs. Based on the different compositions of s-type genes, Glu-B3 alleles were divided into two groups, one containing Glu-B3a, B3b, B3f and B3g, and the other comprising Glu-B3c, B3d, B3h and B3i. Eight conserved genes were identified among Glu-D3 alleles, except for Glu-D3f. The protein products of the unique active genes in each NIL were detected using protein electrophoresis. Among Glu-3 alleles, the Glu-A3e genotype without i-type LMW-GS performed worst in almost all quality properties. Glu-B3b, B3g and B3i showed better quality parameters than the other Glu-B3 alleles, whereas the Glu-B3c allele containing s-type genes with low expression levels had an inferior effect on bread-making quality. Due to the conserved genes at Glu-D3 locus, Glu-D3 alleles showed no significant differences in effects on all quality parameters.


This work provided new insights into the composition and function of 18 LMW-GS alleles in bread wheat. The variation of i-type genes mainly contributed to the high diversity of Glu-A3 alleles, and the differences among Glu-B3 alleles were mainly derived from the high polymorphism of s-type genes. Among LMW-GS alleles, Glu-A3e and Glu-B3c represented inferior alleles for bread-making quality, whereas Glu-A3d, Glu-B3b, Glu-B3g and Glu-B3i were correlated with superior bread-making quality. Glu-D3 alleles played minor roles in determining quality variation in bread wheat. Thus, LMW-GS alleles not only affect dough extensibility but greatly contribute to the dough resistance, glutenin macro-polymers and bread quality.

Triticum aestivum; Glu-3 alleles; Bread-making quality