Evolution of AGL6-like MADS box genes in grasses (Poaceae): ovule expression is ancient and palea expression is new

Renata Reinheimer, Elizabeth A Kellogg
Plant Cell 2009, 21 (9): 2591-605
AGAMOUS-like6 (AGL6) genes encode MIKC-type MADS box transcription factors and are closely related to SEPALLATA and AP1/FUL-like genes. Here, we focus on the molecular evolution and expression of the AGL6-like genes in grasses. We have found that AGL6-like genes are expressed in ovules, lodicules (second whorl floral organs), paleas (putative first whorl floral organs), and floral meristems. Each of these expression domains was acquired at a different time in evolution, indicating that each represents a distinct function of the gene product and that the AGL6-like genes are pleiotropic. Expression in the inner integument of the ovule appears to be an ancient expression pattern corresponding to the expression of the gene in the megasporangium and integument in gymnosperms. Expression in floral meristems appears to have been acquired in the angiosperms and expression in second whorl organs in monocots. Early in grass evolution, AGL6-like orthologs acquired a new expression domain in the palea. Stamen expression is variable. Most grasses have a single AGL6-like gene (orthologous to the rice [Oryza sativa] gene MADS6). However, rice and other species of Oryza have a second copy (orthologous to rice MADS17) that appears to be the result of an ancient duplication.

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