Functional analysis reveals the possible role of the C-terminal sequences and PI motif in the function of lily (Lilium longiflorum) PISTILLATA (PI) orthologues

Ming-Kun Chen, Wen-Ping Hsieh, Chang-Hsien Yang
Journal of Experimental Botany 2012, 63 (2): 941-61
Two lily (Lilium longiflorum) PISTILLATA (PI) genes, Lily MADS Box Gene 8 and 9 (LMADS8/9), were characterized. LMADS9 lacked 29 C-terminal amino acids including the PI motif that was present in LMADS8. Both LMADS8/9 mRNAs were prevalent in the first and second whorl tepals during all stages of development and were expressed in the stamen only in young flower buds. LMADS8/9 could both form homodimers, but the ability of LMADS8 homodimers to bind to CArG1 was relatively stronger than that of LMADS9 homodimers. 35S:LMADS8 completely, and 35S:LMADS9 only partially, rescued the second whorl petal formation and partially converted the first whorl sepal into a petal-like structure in Arabidopsis pi-1 mutants. Ectopic expression of LMADS8-C (with deletion of the 29 amino acids of the C-terminal sequence) or LMADS8-PI (with only the PI motif deleted) only partially rescued petal formation in pi mutants, which was similar to what was observed in 35S:LMADS9/pi plants. In contrast, 35:LMADS9+L8C (with the addition of the 29 amino acids of the LMADS8 C-terminal sequence) or 35S:LMADS9+L8PI (with the addition of the LMADS8 PI motif) demonstrated an increased ability to rescue petal formation in pi mutants, which was similar to what was observed in 35S:LMADS8/pi plants. Furthermore, ectopic expression of LMADS8-M (with the MADS domain truncated) generated more severe dominant negative phenotypes than those seen in 35S:LMADS9-M flowers. These results revealed that the 29 amino acids including the PI motif in the C-terminal region of the lily PI orthologue are valuable for its function in regulating perianth organ formation.

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