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PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e50057. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0050057. Epub 2012 Nov 21.

Coexpression of the high molecular weight glutenin subunit 1Ax1 and puroindoline improves dough mixing properties in durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L. ssp. durum).

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  • 1China-UK HUST-Rres Genetic Engineering and Genomics Joint Laboratory, The Genetic Engineering International Cooperation Base of Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, Chinese National Center of Plant Gene Research, Wuhan, HUST Part, Wuhan, China.


Wheat end-use quality mainly derives from two interrelated characteristics: the compositions of gluten proteins and grain hardness. The composition of gluten proteins determines dough rheological properties and thus confers the unique viscoelastic property on dough. One group of gluten proteins, high molecular weight glutenin subunits (HMW-GS), plays an important role in dough functional properties. On the other hand, grain hardness, which influences the milling process of flour, is controlled by Puroindoline a (Pina) and Puroindoline b (Pinb) genes. However, little is known about the combined effects of HMW-GS and PINs on dough functional properties. In this study, we crossed a Pina-expressing transgenic line with a 1Ax1-expressing line of durum wheat and screened out lines coexpressing 1Ax1 and Pina or lines expressing either 1Ax1 or Pina. Dough mixing analysis of these lines demonstrated that expression of 1Ax1 improved both dough strength and over-mixing tolerance, while expression of PINA detrimentally affected the dough resistance to extension. In lines coexpressing 1Ax1 and Pina, faster hydration of flour during mixing was observed possibly due to the lower water absorption and damaged starch caused by PINA expression. In addition, expression of 1Ax1 appeared to compensate the detrimental effect of PINA on dough resistance to extension. Consequently, coexpression of 1Ax1 and PINA in durum wheat had combined effects on dough mixing behaviors with a better dough strength and resistance to extension than those from lines expressing either 1Ax1 or Pina. The results in our study suggest that simultaneous modulation of dough strength and grain hardness in durum wheat could significantly improve its breadmaking quality and may not even impair its pastamaking potential. Therefore, coexpression of 1Ax1 and PINA in durum wheat has useful implications for breeding durum wheat with dual functionality (for pasta and bread) and may improve the economic values of durum wheat.

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