Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Lincoln, Nebraska » Wheat, Sorghum and Forage Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #238176

Title: Two Distinct Waxy Alleles Impact the Granule-Bound Starch Synthase in Sorghum

item Sattler, Scott
item Singh, Jaswinder - Mcgill University - Canada
item Haas, Eric - Creighton University
item Guo, Lining
item Sarath, Gautam
item Pedersen, Jeffrey

Submitted to: Molecular Breeding
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/3/2009
Publication Date: 6/5/2009
Publication URL:
Citation: Sattler, Scott E., Jaswinder Singh, Eric J. Haas, Lining Guo, Gautam Sarath, and Jeffrey F. Pedersen Two distinct waxy alleles impact the granule-bound starch synthase in sorghum. Molecular Breeding 24:349-359

Interpretive Summary: In the US, sorghum is an important grain crop, which is used for livestock feed and grain ethanol production. waxy (wx) mutants, which has been commonly used to alter starch composition of grain for downstream applications. In this study, we identified and characterized DNA changes that cause two wx mutants. Both wx mutations have the potential to improve grain sorghum for ethanol conversion and livestock digestibility.

Technical Abstract: The granule-bound starch synthase (GBSS) is the enzyme responsible for amylose synthesis in starch granules. Loss of GBSS activity results in starch granules containing mostly amylopectin and little or no amylose, a phenotype described as waxy. Previously, two phenotypic classes of waxy alleles were identified in sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) characterized by the absence (waxya; wxa) or presence (waxyb; wxb) of the GBSS protein in the endosperm. To characterize these alleles, we examined endosperm architecture using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), assayed GBSS enzymatic activities, and identified DNA lesions associated with the mutations in the GBSS (Sb10g002140) gene. wxa, the allele present in B Tx630 and R Tx2907 contained a large insertion in the third exon, which was consistent with the absence of the GBSS protein previously observed. wxb, the allele present in B 9307 and R TxAGR1 contained a missense mutation that resulted in conversion of glutamine 268 to histidine in a conserved domain in starch synthases. In wxb, GBSS activity was less than 20% that of the non-waxy line B Wheatland, and GBSS activity was not detected in wxa. The protein model of GBSS provided some insight into the function of the gene. SEM showed that endosperm architecture was very similar in both wxa and wxb alleles, but altered in comparison to non-waxy lines R Tx430 and B Wheatland. Both alleles may have a range of potential applications in grain sorghum, because of low amylose content in their starch and the presence or absence of the GBSS.