Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 121, Issue 7, pp 1227–1237 | Cite as

Allelic variation of the β-, γ- and δ-kafirin genes in diverse Sorghum genotypes

  • H. K. C. Laidlaw
  • E. S. Mace
  • S. B. Williams
  • K. Sakrewski
  • A. M. Mudge
  • P. J. Prentis
  • D. R. Jordan
  • I. D. Godwin
Original Paper


The β-, γ- and δ-kafirin genes were sequenced from 35 Sorghum genotypes to investigate the allelic diversity of seed storage proteins. A range of grain sorghums, including inbred parents from internationally diverse breeding programs and landraces, and three wild Sorghum relatives were selected to encompass an extensive array of improved and unimproved germplasm in the Eusorghum. A single locus exists for each of the expressed kafirin-encoding genes, unlike the multigenic α-kafirins. Significant diversity was found for each locus, with the cysteine-rich β-kafirin having four alleles, including the first natural null mutant reported for this prolamin subfamily. This allele contains a frame shift insertion at +206 resulting in a premature stop codon. SDS-PAGE revealed that lines with this allele do not produce β-kafirin. An analysis of flour viscosity reveals that these β-kafirin null lines have a difference in grain quality, with significantly lower viscosity observed over the entire Rapid ViscoAnalyser time course. There was less diversity at the protein level within the cysteine-rich γ-kafirin, with only two alleles in the cultivated sorghums. There were only two alleles for the δ-kafirin locus among the S. bicolor germplasm, with one allele encoding ten extra amino acids, of which five were methionine residues, with an additional methionine resulting from a nucleotide substitution. This longer allele encodes a protein with 19.1% methionine. The Asian species, S. propinquum, had distinct alleles for all three kafirin genes. We found no evidence for selection on the three kafirin genes during sorghum domestication even though the δ-kafirin locus displayed comparatively low genetic variation. This study has identified genetic diversity in all single copy seed storage protein genes, including a null mutant for β-kafirin in Sorghum.


Sorghum Protein Body Prolamin Seed Storage Protein Sorghum Genotype 
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Supplementary material

122_2010_1383_MOESM1_ESM.doc (34 kb)
Supplementary Table 1 (DOC 34 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. K. C. Laidlaw
    • 1
    • 3
  • E. S. Mace
    • 2
  • S. B. Williams
    • 1
  • K. Sakrewski
    • 2
  • A. M. Mudge
    • 1
  • P. J. Prentis
    • 1
  • D. R. Jordan
    • 2
  • I. D. Godwin
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Land, Crop and Food SciencesThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Hermitage Research StationAgri-Science QueenslandWarwickAustralia
  3. 3.CSIRO Plant IndustryCanberraAustralia

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