Low-gluten, nontransgenic wheat engineered with CRISPR/Cas9

Susana Sánchez-León, Javier Gil-Humanes, Carmen V. Ozuna, María J. Giménez, Carolina Sousa, Daniel F Voytas, Francisco Barro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

323 Scopus citations


Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder triggered in genetically predisposed individuals by the ingestion of gluten proteins from wheat, barley and rye. The α-gliadin gene family of wheat contains four highly stimulatory peptides, of which the 33-mer is the main immunodominant peptide in patients with coeliac. We designed two sgRNAs to target a conserved region adjacent to the coding sequence for the 33-mer in the α-gliadin genes. Twenty-one mutant lines were generated, all showing strong reduction in α-gliadins. Up to 35 different genes were mutated in one of the lines of the 45 different genes identified in the wild type, while immunoreactivity was reduced by 85%. Transgene-free lines were identified, and no off-target mutations have been detected in any of the potential targets. The low-gluten, transgene-free wheat lines described here could be used to produce low-gluten foodstuff and serve as source material to introgress this trait into elite wheat varieties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)902-910
Number of pages9
JournalPlant Biotechnology Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Projects AGL2013-48946-C3-1-R and AGL2016-80566-P) and the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER) supported this work. Javier Gil-Humanes acknowledges the Fundacion Alfonso Martín Escudero for its funding support. The technical assistance of Ana Garćıa is also acknowledged.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Authors. Plant Biotechnology Journal published by Society for Experimental Biology and The Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • CRISPR/Cas9
  • coeliac disease
  • α-gliadins


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