Puroindoline proteins were purified from selected UK-grown hexaploid wheats. Their identities were confirmed on the basis of capillary electrophoresis mobilities, relative molecular mass and N-terminal amino acid sequencing. Only one form of puroindoline-a protein was found in those varieties, regardless of endosperm texture. Three allelic forms of puroindoline-b protein were identified. Nucleotide sequencing of cDNA produced by RT-PCR of isolated mRNA indicated that these were the ‘wild-type’, found in soft wheats, puroindoline-b containing a Gly→Ser amino acid substitution (position 46) and puroindoline-b containing a Trp→Arg substitution (position 44). The latter two were found in hard wheats. Microheterogeneity, due to short extensions and/or truncations at the N-terminus and C-terminus, was detected for both puroindoline-a and puroindoline-b. The type of microheterogeneity observed was more consistent for puroindoline-a than for puroindoline-b, and may arise through slightly different post-translational processing pathways. A puroindoline-b allele corresponding to a Leu→Pro substitution (position 60) was identified from the cDNA sequence of the hard variety Chablis, but no mature puroindoline-b protein was found in this or two other European varieties known to possess this puroindoline-b allele. Wheats possessing the puroindoline-b proteins with point mutations appeared to contain lower amounts of puroindoline protein. Such wheats have a hard endosperm texture, as do wheats from which puroindoline-a or puroindoline-b are absent. Our results suggest that point mutations in puroindoline-b genes may confer hard endosperm texture through accumulation of allelic forms of puroindoline-b proteins with altered functional properties and/or through lower amounts of puroindoline proteins.