A stilbene synthase gene (SbSTS1) is involved in host and nonhost defense responses in sorghum

Plant Physiol. 2005 May;138(1):393-401. doi: 10.1104/pp.105.059337. Epub 2005 Apr 8.


A chalcone synthase (CHS)-like gene, SbCHS8, with high expressed sequence tag abundance in a pathogen-induced cDNA library, was identified previously in sorghum (Sorghum bicolor). Genomic Southern analysis revealed that SbCHS8 represents a single-copy gene. SbCHS8 expression was induced in sorghum mesocotyls following inoculation with Cochliobolus heterotrophus and Colletotrichum sublineolum, corresponding to nonhost and host defense responses, respectively. However, the induction was delayed by approximately 24 h when compared to the expression of at least one of the other SbCHS genes. In addition, SbCHS8 expression was not induced by light and did not occur in a tissue-specific manner. SbCHS8, together with SbCHS2, was overexpressed in transgenic Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) tt4 (transparent testa) mutants defective in CHS activities. SbCHS2 rescued the ability of these mutants to accumulate flavonoids in seed coats and seedlings. In contrast, SbCHS8 failed to complement the mutation, suggesting that the encoded enzyme does not function as a CHS. To elucidate their biochemical functions, recombinant proteins were assayed with different phenylpropanoid-Coenzyme A esters. Flavanones and stilbenes were detected in the reaction products of SbCHS2 and SbCHS8, respectively. Taken together, our data demonstrated that SbCHS2 encodes a typical CHS that synthesizes naringenin chalcone, which is necessary for the formation of different flavonoid metabolites. On the other hand, SbCHS8, now retermed SbSTS1, encodes an enzyme with stilbene synthase activity, suggesting that sorghum accumulates stilbene-derived defense metabolites in addition to the well-characterized 3-deoxyanthocyanidin phytoalexins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acyltransferases / genetics*
  • Ascomycota / pathogenicity
  • Base Sequence
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Colletotrichum / pathogenicity
  • DNA Primers
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sorghum / enzymology
  • Sorghum / genetics*
  • Sorghum / growth & development
  • Sorghum / microbiology


  • DNA Primers
  • Acyltransferases
  • stilbene synthase