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Genetics. 2003 Oct;165(2):821-33.

Duplication and diversification in the APETALA1/FRUITFULL floral homeotic gene lineage: implications for the evolution of floral development.

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  • 1Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-4108, USA. amy.litt@yale.edu


Phylogenetic analyses of angiosperm MADS-box genes suggest that this gene family has undergone multiple duplication events followed by sequence divergence. To determine when such events have taken place and to understand the relationships of particular MADS-box gene lineages, we have identified APETALA1/FRUITFULL-like MADS-box genes from a variety of angiosperm species. Our phylogenetic analyses show two gene clades within the core eudicots, euAP1 (including Arabidopsis APETALA1 and Antirrhinum SQUAMOSA) and euFUL (including Arabidopsis FRUITFULL). Non-core eudicot species have only sequences similar to euFUL genes (FUL-like). The predicted protein products of euFUL and FUL-like genes share a conserved C-terminal motif. In contrast, predicted products of members of the euAP1 gene clade contain a different C terminus that includes an acidic transcription activation domain and a farnesylation signal. Sequence analyses indicate that the euAP1 amino acid motifs may have arisen via a translational frameshift from the euFUL/FUL-like motif. The euAP1 gene clade includes key regulators of floral development that have been implicated in the specification of perianth identity. However, the presence of euAP1 genes only in core eudicots suggests that there may have been changes in mechanisms of floral development that are correlated with the fixation of floral structure seen in this clade.

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