Ectopic expression of carpel-specific MADS box genes from lily and lisianthus causes similar homeotic conversion of sepal and petal in Arabidopsis

Tsai-Yu Tzeng, Hsing-Yu Chen, Chang-Hsien Yang
Plant Physiology 2002, 130 (4): 1827-36
Two MADS box genes, Lily MADS Box Gene 2 (LMADS2) and Eustoma grandiflorum MADS Box Gene 1 (EgMADS1), with an extensive similarity to the petunia (Petunia hybrida) FLORAL BINDING PROTEIN 7/11 and Arabidopsis AGL11, were characterized from the lily (Lilium longiflorum) and lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum). The expression of LMADS2 and EgMADS1 mRNA was restricted to the carpel and was absent in the other flower organs or vegetative leaves. LMADS2 mRNA was detected mainly in ovules and weakly in style tissues of the carpel, whereas EgMADS1 mRNA was only expressed in the ovules. Transgenic Arabidopsis plants ectopically expressing LMADS2 or EgMADS1 showed similar novel phenotypes resembling 35S::AGAMOUS plants by significantly reducing plant size, flowering early, and losing inflorescence indeterminacy. Ectopic expression of these two genes also generated similar ap2-like flowers by inducing homeotic conversion of the sepals into carpel-like structures in which stigmatic papillae and ovules were observed. In addition, the petals were converted into stamen-like structures in the second whorl of 35S::LMADS2 and 35S::EgMADS1 transgenic Arabidopsis. Our data indicated that LMADS2 and EgMADS1 are putative D functional MADS box genes in lily and lisianthus with a function similar to C functional genes once ectopically expressed in Arabidopsis.

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