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Redox-dependent interaction between thaumatin-like protein and β-glucan influences malting quality of barley


Barley is the cornerstone of the malting and brewing industry. It is known that 250 quantitative trait loci (QTLs) of the grain are associated with 19 malting-quality phenotypes. However, only a few of the contributing genetic components have been identified. One of these, on chromosome 4H, contains a major malting QTL, QTL2, located near the telomeric region that accounts, respectively, for 28.9% and 37.6% of the variation in the β-glucan and extract fractions of malt. In the current study, we dissected the QTL2 region using an expression- and microsynteny-based approach. From a set of 22 expressed sequence tags expressed in seeds at the malting stage, we identified a candidate gene, TLP8 (thaumatin-like protein 8), which was differentially expressed and influenced malting quality. Transcript abundance and protein profiles of TLP8 were studied in different malt and feed varieties using quantitative PCR, immunoblotting, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The experiments demonstrated that TLP8 binds to insoluble (1, 3, 1, 4)-β-D glucan in grain extracts, thereby facilitating the removal of this undesirable polysaccharide during malting. Further, the binding of TLP8 to β-glucan was dependent on redox. These findings represent a stride forward in our understanding of the malting process and provide a foundation for future improvements in the final beer-making process.

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