Functional & Integrative Genomics

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 445–453 | Cite as

Sorghum bmr6 mutant analysis demonstrates that a shared MYB1 transcription factor binding site in the promoter links the expression of genes in related pathways

  • Jieqin Li
  • Lihua Wang
  • Qiuwen ZhanEmail author
  • YanLong Liu
  • Bisheng Fu
  • Chunming WangEmail author
Original Paper


Sorghum is not only an important cereal crop but also a biofuel crop. The sorghum brown midrib mutant 6 (bmr6) has a reduced lignin content in the cell walls and vascular tissues, which could potentially be advantageous for cellulosic biofuel production. Meanwhile, both dry matter yield and plant height were decreased in the bmr6 mutant. To identify genes affected in the mutant, differential gene expression analysis was performed for bmr6 and the wild type. As a result, a total of 1,052 differentially expressed genes were detected between the two samples, of which 166 genes were downregulated and 886 genes were upregulated. Five hundred seventy-nine of the 1,052 differentially expressed genes could be assigned to 154 documented pathways. These pathways mainly included primary and secondary metabolism. Therefore, mutation of the bmr6 gene, which impaired the biosynthesis of lignin, ultimately affected the expression of these genes associated with the growth and development of sorghum. Except for the bmr6 gene, 11 key enzyme genes of monolignols biosynthesis were upregulated. Promoter analysis identified that these genes have common MYB sites. It revealed that a feedback mechanism existed in the pathway and a MYB1 transcription factor (Sb02g031190) could associate with the upregulation of these genes in sorghum. In this study, we investigated gene expressions at a global level in sorghum bmr6 mutant and provided valuable insights into the mechanisms of lignin biosynthesis.


Sorghum Brown midrib Expression profile Lignin 



We thank Pedersen J. F. for the plant materials in this research. This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation (31071470 and 31301383), the Anhui Science and Technology University Research Program (ZRC2013371), and the Planning Subject of “the Twelfth Five-Year Plan” in the National Science and Technology for the Rural Development in China (2011BAD17B03).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Plant ScienceAnhui Science and Technology UniversityFengyangPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Germplasm Enhancement, Jiangsu Plant Gene Engineering Research CenterNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina

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