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Diversification of the celiac disease α‐gliadin complex in wheat: a 33‐mer peptide with six overlapping epitopes, evolved following polyploidization

Ozuna, Carmen V., Iehisa, Julio C. M., Giménez, María J., Alvarez, Juan B., Sousa, Carolina, Barro, Francisco
The plant journal 2015 v.82 no.5 pp. 794-805
Aegilops tauschii, T-lymphocytes, barley, breeding, celiac disease, diploidy, epitopes, genes, gliadin, gluten, hexaploidy, high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, human population, innate immunity, peptides, rye, varieties, wheat
The gluten proteins from wheat, barley and rye are responsible both for celiac disease (CD) and for non‐celiac gluten sensitivity, two pathologies affecting up to 6–8% of the human population worldwide. The wheat α‐gliadin proteins contain three major CD immunogenic peptides: p31–43, which induces the innate immune response; the 33‐mer, formed by six overlapping copies of three highly stimulatory epitopes; and an additional DQ2.5‐glia‐α3 epitope which partially overlaps with the 33‐mer. Next‐generation sequencing (NGS) and Sanger sequencing of α‐gliadin genes from diploid and polyploid wheat provided six types of α‐gliadins (named 1–6) with strong differences in their frequencies in diploid and polyploid wheat, and in the presence and abundance of these CD immunogenic peptides. Immunogenic variants of the p31–43 peptide were found in most of the α‐gliadins. Variants of the DQ2.5‐glia‐α3 epitope were associated with specific types of α‐gliadins. Remarkably, only type 1 α‐gliadins contained 33‐mer epitopes. Moreover, the full immunodominant 33‐mer fragment was only present in hexaploid wheat at low abundance, probably as the result of allohexaploidization events from subtype 1.2 α‐gliadins found only in Aegilops tauschii, the D‐genome donor of hexaploid wheat. Type 3 α‐gliadins seem to be the ancestral type as they are found in most of the α‐gliadin‐expressing Triticeae species. These findings are important for reducing the incidence of CD by the breeding/selection of wheat varieties with low stimulatory capacity of T cells. Moreover, advanced genome‐editing techniques (TALENs, CRISPR) will be easier to implement on the small group of α‐gliadins containing only immunogenic peptides.