gluten

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gluten,

mixture of proteinsprotein,
any of the group of highly complex organic compounds found in all living cells and comprising the most abundant class of all biological molecules. Protein comprises approximately 50% of cellular dry weight.
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 present in the cereal grains. The long molecules of gluten, insoluble in water, are strong and flexible and form many cross linkages. This gives flour its characteristic chewiness and permits breads and cakes to rise during baking as the gases within expand and are trapped in the gluten superstructure. Various flours have different ratios of gluten to starch (called hardness) and are appropriate for different types of foodstuffs. Thus soft flour is used for cakes, harder flour for pastry, hard flour for bread, and the hardest, or durum, for pasta. The hereditary disease called nontropical spruesprue,
chronic disorder of the small intestine caused by impaired absorption of fat and other nutrients. Two forms of the disease exist.

Tropical sprue occurs in central and northern South America, Asia, Africa, and other specific locations.
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 is characterized by an inability to digest gluten. In this disease the gluten acts as an antigen (see immunityimmunity,
ability of an organism to resist disease by identifying and destroying foreign substances or organisms. Although all animals have some immune capabilities, little is known about nonmammalian immunity.
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) and forms immune complexes that cause damage to the mucus lining of the intestine.

gluten

[′glüt·ən]
(biochemistry)
A mixture of proteins found in the seeds of cereals; gives dough elasticity and cohesiveness.
An albuminous element of animal tissue.

gluten

a protein consisting of a mixture of glutelin and gliadin, present in cereal grains, esp wheat. A gluten-free diet is necessary in cases of coeliac disease