A sorghum cDNA clone was isolated by differential screening of a cDNA library prepared from mesocotyls (cultivar DK18) inoculated with fungal pathogenes. The deduced translation product shows sequence similarity to a family of intracellular pathogenesis-related proteins (PR-10) with a potential ribonuclease function. We studied the accumulation of PR-10 and chalcone synthase (CHS) transcripts in mesocotyls following inoculation with Cochliobolus heterostrophus or Colletotrichum sublineolum. CHS is involved in phytoalexin synthesis in sorghum. Coordinate expression of PR-10 and CHS genes was localized in the area of inoculation along with the accumulation of phytoalexins. C. heterostrophus is a nonpathogen of sorghum and cytological studies indicated that cultivar DK18 is resistant to C. sublineolum, a sorghum pathogen. We demonstrated that the two fungi triggered different time courses of plant defense reactions. Inoculation with C. heterostrophus resulted in rapid accumulation of PR-10 and CHS transcripts after appressoria had become mature. Accumulation of these transcripts was delayed in plants inoculated with C. sublineolum until penetration of host tissue had been completed and infection vesicles had formed. Results suggest that different recognition events are involved in the expression of resistance to the two fungi used or that C. sublineolum suppresses the nonspecific induction of defense responses.