Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 88, Issue 2, pp 139–149 | Cite as

The soybean cinnamate 4-hydroxylase gene GmC4H1 contributes positively to plant defense via increasing lignin content

  • Qiang Yan
  • Jierui Si
  • Xiaoxia Cui
  • Hao Peng
  • Xin Chen
  • Han Xing
  • Daolong DouEmail author
Original paper


Lignification is a key event in plant defense against pathogens. In the plant lignin biosynthetic pathway, cinnamate 4-hydroxylase (C4H) catalyzes the conversion of trans-cinnamic acid to p-coumaric acid. However, the potential role of C4H in plant defense remains elusive. In this research, a soybean C4H gene, GmC4H1, was identified via microarray-based comparative transcriptome analysis of genes responsive to Phytophthora sojae infection. The accumulation of GmC4H1 transcripts increased significantly upon P. sojae infection. Nicotiana benthamiana plants overexpressing GmC4H1 demonstrated enhanced lignin accumulation and elevated resistance to both Phytophthora parasitica and Verticillium dahliae. The silencing of GmC4H1 in soybean hairy roots resulted in decreased resistance to P. sojae. These results together suggest that GmC4H1 contributes positively to plant defense against various pathogens, possibly by enhancing lignin biosynthesis.


Soybean Lignin C4H1 Phytophthora sojae Disease defense 



This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31625023, 31721004 and 31672008) and Special Fund for Agro-scientific Research in the Public Interest (201503112).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10725_2019_494_MOESM1_ESM.tif (736 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (TIFF 736 kb) Fig. S1 Alignment of C4H1 amino acid sequences from five plant species. Amino acid sequences used in the alignment are from Arabidopsis thaliana (NP_180607.1), Gossypium hirsutum (ACH56520), Medicago truncatula (XP_003616037.1), Nicotiana tabacum (NP_001312254.1) and Oryza sativa (EAZ35606.1). Identical amino acids are marked in black. Conserved amino acids are showed in gray. Sequences were aligned using CLUSTALW and viewed in GeneDoc.
10725_2019_494_MOESM2_ESM.tif (279 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (TIFF 278 kb) Fig. S2 Molecular verification of transgenicN. benthamianalines. Genomic DNA (a) and cDNA (b) PCR amplification of GmC4H1 (upper panel) from wild-type (WT), empty vector (EV) transformant and threeT2 transgenic lines expressing GmC4H1 (12-3, 14-4 and 18–4). NbEF1a (lower panel) was used as an internal control. c Seed germination rates of transgenic N. benthamiana plants.
10725_2019_494_MOESM3_ESM.docx (13 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 13 kb) Table S1: Primers used in the study


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant PathologyNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Institute of Industrial CropsJiangsu Academy of Agricultural SciencesNanjingChina
  3. 3.Department of Crop and Soil SciencesWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  4. 4.National Center for Soybean ImprovementNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina

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