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, 129 (1), 1-16

Wheat Waxy Proteins: Polymorphism, Molecular Characterization and Effects on Starch Properties


Wheat Waxy Proteins: Polymorphism, Molecular Characterization and Effects on Starch Properties

Carlos Guzmán et al. Theor Appl Genet.


The starch fraction, comprising about 70% of the total dry matter in the wheat grain, can greatly affect the end-use quality of products made from wheat kernels, especially Asian noodles. Starch is associated with the shelf life and nutritional value (glycaemic index) of different wheat products. Starch quality is closely associated with the ratio of amylose to amylopectin, the two main macromolecules forming starch. In this review, we briefly summarise the discovery of waxy proteins-shown to be the sole enzymes responsible for amylose synthesis in wheat. The review particularly focuses on the different variants of these proteins, together with their molecular characterisation and evaluation of their effects on starch composition. There have been 19 different waxy protein variants described using protein electrophoresis; and at a molecular level 19, 15 and seven alleles described for Wx-A1, Wx-B1 and Wx-D1, respectively. This large variability, found in modern wheat and genetic resources such as wheat ancestors and wild relatives, is in some cases not properly ordered. The proper ordering of all the data generated is the key to enhancing use in breeding programmes of the current variability described, and thus generating wheat with novel starch properties to satisfy the demand of industry and consumers for novel high-quality processed food.

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