, 251:14 | Cite as

Alternative splicing is a Sorghum bicolor defense response to fungal infection

  • Lanxiang Wang
  • Moxian Chen
  • Fuyuan Zhu
  • Tao Fan
  • Jianhua ZhangEmail author
  • Clive LoEmail author
Original Article


Main conclusion

This study provides new insights that alternative splicing participates with transcriptional control in defense responses to Colletotrichum sublineola in sorghum


In eukaryotic organisms, alternative splicing (AS) is an important post-transcriptional mechanism to generate multiple transcript isoforms from a single gene. Protein variants translated from splicing isoforms may have altered molecular characteristics in signal transduction and metabolic activities. However, which transcript isoforms will be translated into proteins and the biological functions of the resulting proteoforms are yet to be identified. Sorghum is one of the five major cereal crops, but its production is severely affected by fungal diseases. For example, sorghum anthracnose caused by Colletotrichum sublineola greatly reduces grain yield and biomass production. In this study, next-generation sequencing technology was used to analyze C. sublineola-inoculated sorghum seedlings compared with mock-inoculated control. It was identified that AS regulation may be as important as traditional transcriptional control during defense responses to fungal infection. Moreover, several genes involved in flavonoid and phenylpropanoid biosynthetic pathways were found to undergo multiple AS modifications. Further analysis demonstrated that non-conventional targets of both 5′- and 3′-splice sites were alternatively used in response to C. sublineola infection. Splicing factors were also affected at both transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. As the first transcriptome report on C. sublineola infected sorghum, our work also suggested that AS plays crucial functions in defense responses to fungal invasion.


Metabolic pathway Post-transcriptional regulation Splice site Splicing factor 



This work was primarily supported by a research funding awarded to CL (GRF17123315) by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (HKRGC). LW was supported by the HKU postgraduate fellowship. Additional funding included a grant (GRF CUHK12100318) awarded to JZ by the HKRGC.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

425_2019_3309_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (874 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 875 kb)
425_2019_3309_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (870 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (XLSX 870 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesThe University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  2. 2.Co-Innovation Center for Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, College of Biology and the EnvironmentNanjing Forestry UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.Shenzhen Research InstituteThe Chinese University of Hong KongShenzhenChina
  4. 4.Department of Biology, Hong Kong Baptist University, and State Key Laboratory of AgrobiotechnologyThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong
  5. 5.Shenzhen Institute of Synthetic Biology, Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced TechnologyChinese Academy of SciencesShenzhenChina

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