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J Mol Evol. 2003 May;56(5):573-86.

Genomewide structural annotation and evolutionary analysis of the type I MADS-box genes in plants.

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Department of Plant Systems Biology, Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology, Ghent University, K.L Ledeganckstraat 35, Belgium.


The type I MADS-box genes constitute a largely unexplored subfamily of the extensively studied MADS-box gene family, well known for its role in flower development. Genes of the type I MADS-box subfamily possess the characteristic MADS box but are distinguished from type II MADS-box genes by the absence of the keratin-like box. In this in silico study, we have structurally annotated all 47 members of the type I MADS-box gene family in Arabidopsis thaliana and exerted a thorough analysis of the C-terminal regions of the translated proteins. On the basis of conserved motifs in the C-terminal region, we could classify the gene family into three main groups, two of which could be further subdivided. Phylogenetic trees were inferred to study the evolutionary relationships within this large MADS-box gene subfamily. These suggest for plant type I genes a dynamic of evolution that is significantly different from the mode of both animal type I (SRF) and plant type II (MIKC-type) gene phylogeny. The presence of conserved motifs in the majority of these genes, the identification of Oryza sativa MADS-box type I homologues, and the detection of expressed sequence tags for Arabidopsis thaliana and other plant type I genes suggest that these genes are indeed of functional importance to plants. It is therefore even more intriguing that, from an experimental point of view, almost nothing is known about the function of these MADS-box type I genes.

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