SQUA-like genes in the orchid Phalaenopsis are expressed in both vegetative and reproductive tissues

Donghong Chen, Bin Guo, Saiyin Hexige, Tian Zhang, Daleng Shen, Feng Ming
Planta 2007, 226 (2): 369-80
The SQUA family (AP1/FUL family) of MADS-box genes plays an important role in the transition from the vegetative to the reproductive development of angiosperms, and its origin might be concurrent with fixation of floral structure in angiosperms. Here, we isolated two Phalaenopsis MADS-box genes designated ORAP11 and ORAP13, both of which belong to the monocot FUL-like clade of the SQUA family. RT-PCR showed that both genes are strongly expressed in the floral bud, and also detected in the vegetative organs. During later stages, ORAP11 was only detected in the column, but ORAP13 signal was absent from all of the floral organs. In-situ hybridization experiments detected both genes in the tips and margins of developing petals and lips, the developing column, and ovule. Over-expression of both genes in tobacco induced early flowering and changed plant architecture. Our results suggest that in Phalaenopsis, both genes might share partly redundant activities and play important roles in the process of floral transition and morphological architecture.

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