Modification of phenolic metabolism in soybean hairy roots through down regulation of chalcone synthase or isoflavone synthase

Vera V. Lozovaya, Anatoliy V. Lygin, Olga V. Zernova, Alexander V. Ulanov, Shuxian Li, Glen L. Hartman, Jack M. Widholm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Soybean hairy roots, transformed with the soybean chalcone synthase (CHS6) or isoflavone synthase (IFS2) genes, with dramatically decreased capacity to synthesize isoflavones were produced to determine what effects these changes would have on susceptibility to a fungal pathogen. The isoflavone and coumestrol concentrations were decreased by about 90% in most lines apparently due to gene silencing. The IFS2 transformed lines had very low IFS enzyme activity in microsomal fractions as measured by the conversion of naringenin to genistein. The CHS6 lines with decreased isoflavone concentrations had 5 to 20-fold lower CHS enzyme activities than the appropriate controls. Both IFS2 and CHS transformed lines accumulated higher concentrations of both soluble and cell wall bound phenolic acids compared to controls with higher levels found in the CHS6 lines indicating alterations in the lignin biosynthetic branch of the pathway. Induction of the soybean phytoalexin glyceollin, of which the precursor is the isoflavone daidzein, by the fungal pathogen Fusarium solani f. sp. glycines (FSG) that causes soybean sudden death syndrome (SDS) showed that the low isoflavone transformed lines did not accumulate glyceollin while the control lines did. The (iso)liquritigenin content increased upon FSG induction in the IFS2 transformed roots indicating that the pathway reactions before this point can control isoflavonoid synthesis. The lowest fungal growth rate on hairy roots was found on the FSG partially resistant control roots followed by the SDS sensitive control roots and the low isoflavone transformants. The results indicate the importance of phytoalexin synthesis in root resistance to the pathogen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)665-679
Number of pages15
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2007


  • Disease
  • Genetic engineering
  • Hairy roots
  • Phenylpropanoids
  • Resistance
  • Soybean

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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