‘High-molecular-weight’ (HMW, high-Mr) glutenin subunits are protein constituents of wheat (Triticum aestivum) seeds and are responsible in part for the viscoelasticity of the dough used to make bread. Two subunits, numbered 10 and 12, are the products of allelic genes. Their amino acid sequences have been derived from the nucleic acid sequences of the respective genes. Subunit 10 has fewer amino acids than subunit 12, but migrates more slowly on SDS/PAGE (polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis). This anomaly is due to between one and six of the amino acid differences between the subunits, localized towards the C-terminal end of the proteins. This has been established by making chimaeric genes between the genes for subunits 10 and 12, transcribing and translating them in vitro and analysing the products by SDS/PAGE. The postulated conformational differences between subunits 10 and 12 are discussed in relation to current hypotheses for the structure of HMW glutenin subunits.

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