Specific Avenin Cross-Reactivity with G12 Antibody in a Wide Range of Current Oat Cultivars

Foods. 2022 Feb 16;11(4):567. doi: 10.3390/foods11040567.


Current clinical studies confirm that the consumption of oats for people suffering from celiac disease is safe. Some studies have confirmed different levels of immunoreactive gluten epitopes of oats in different cultivars, while others explain these differences due to contamination with gluten-rich species or as random cross-reactivity ELISA of homologous oat epitopes with anti-wheat gliadin antibodies. The aim of our two-year study was therefore to map cross-reactive oat epitopes in a set of 132 oat cultivars using a G12-based ELISA kit. The results were focused on the varietal and annual level of cross-reactivity (interference) of avenin epitopes with the G12 antibody on the identification of potential cultivars with significantly different interferences and assessing the degree of risk of possible false-contamination with external gluten. Although repeated evaluations confirmed high year-to-year variability (RSD ≥ 30%) in approximately 2/3 of the cultivars, the content of interfering avenin epitopes with G12 did not exceed the considered safe limit (20 mg·kg-1) for celiacs. At the same time, not only annual but, above all, significant cultivar dependences in the interference of avenins to the G12 antibody were demonstrated. Genetic dependence was further confirmed in connection with the proven avenin polymorphism as well as immunoblotting with the identification of interfering peptides with the G12 antibody in the 25 and 30 kDa regions. It was the occurrence of two bands around 30 kDa that predominantly occurred in oat cultivars with a relatively higher content of cross-reactive avenins (12-16 mg·kg-1). Due to the fact that the contents of interfering avenins ranged in several cultivars even over 16 mg·kg-1, the choice of a suitable oat cultivar may be crucial for gluten-free food producers, as it reduces the risk of a possible false-response of the commercial ELISA kits when checking the real-gluten contamination.

Keywords: ELISA; avenins; celiac disease; cultivars; gluten epitopes; immunoblot; oat.