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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Glutenin and Gliadin, a Piece in the Puzzle of their Structural Properties in the Cell Described through Monte Carlo Simulations

Markgren, Joel; Hedenqvist, Mikael; Rasheed, Faiza; Skepo, Marie; Johansson, Eva


Gluten protein crosslinking is a predetermined process where specific intra- and intermolecular disulfide bonds differ depending on the protein and cysteine motif. In this article, all-atom Monte Carlo simulations were used to understand the formation of disulfide bonds in gliadins and low molecular weight glutenin subunits (LMW-GS). The two intrinsically disordered proteins appeared to contain mostly turns and loops and showed "self-avoiding walk" behavior in water. Cysteine residues involved in intramolecular disulfide bonds were located next to hydrophobic peptide sections in the primary sequence. Hydrophobicity of neighboring peptide sections, synthesis chronology, and amino acid chain flexibility were identified as important factors in securing the specificity of intramolecular disulfide bonds formed directly after synthesis. The two LMW-GS cysteine residues that form intermolecular disulfide bonds were positioned next to peptide sections of lower hydrophobicity, and these cysteine residues are more exposed to the cytosolic conditions, which influence the crosslinking behavior. In addition, coarse-grained Monte Carlo simulations revealed that the protein folding is independent of ionic strength. The potential molecular behavior associated with disulfide bonds, as reported here, increases the biological understanding of seed storage protein function and provides opportunities to tailor their functional properties for different applications.


modeling; intrinsically disordered proteins; gluten; disulfide bonds; cysteine; prolamin; Monte Carlo

Published in

2020, volume: 10, number: 8, article number: 1095
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Breeding
Hedenqvist, Mikael
Royal Institute of Technology
Rasheed, Faiza
Royal Institute of Technology
Skepo, Marie
Lund University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Breeding

UKÄ Subject classification

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Publication Identifiers


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