Regulation of dhurrin pathway gene expression during Sorghumbicolor development. Academic Article uri icon


  • Developmental and organ-specific expression of genes in dhurrin biosynthesis, bio-activation, and recycling offers dynamic metabolic responses optimizing growth and defence responses in Sorghum. Plant defence models evaluate the costs and benefits of resource investments at different stages in the life cycle. Poor understanding of the molecular regulation of defence deployment and remobilization hampers accuracy of the predictions. Cyanogenic glucosides, such as dhurrin are phytoanticipins that release hydrogen cyanide upon bio-activation. In this study, RNA-seq was used to investigate the expression of genes involved in the biosynthesis, bio-activation and recycling of dhurrin in Sorghum bicolor. Genes involved in dhurrin biosynthesis were highly expressed in all young developing vegetative tissues (leaves, leaf sheath, roots, stems), tiller buds and imbibing seeds and showed gene specific peaks of expression in leaves during diel cycles. Genes involved in dhurrin bio-activation were expressed early in organ development with organ-specific expression patterns. Genes involved in recycling were expressed at similar levels in the different organ during development, although post-floral initiation when nutrients are remobilized for grain filling, expression of GSTL1 decreased>tenfold in leaves and NITB2 increased>tenfold in stems. Results are consistent with the establishment of a pre-emptive defence in young tissues and regulated recycling related to organ senescence and increased demand for nitrogen during grain filling. This detailed characterization of the transcriptional regulation of dhurrin biosynthesis, bioactivation and remobilization genes during organ and plant development will aid elucidation of gene regulatory networks and signalling pathways that modulate gene expression and dhurrin levels. In-depth knowledge of dhurrin metabolism could improve the yield, nitrogen use efficiency and stress resilience of Sorghum.

published proceedings

  • Planta

altmetric score

  • 1.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Gleadow, R. M., McKinley, B. A., Blomstedt, C. K., Lamb, A. C., Mller, B. L., & Mullet, J. E.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Gleadow, Roslyn M||McKinley, Brian A||Blomstedt, Cecilia K||Lamb, Austin C||Møller, Birger Lindberg||Mullet, John E

publication date

  • January 2021