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Plant Cell. 2003 Jul;15(7):1538-51.

Molecular and phylogenetic analyses of the complete MADS-box transcription factor family in Arabidopsis: new openings to the MADS world.

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Dipartimento di Biologia, Universitá degli Studi di Milano, 20133 Milan, Italy.


MADS-box transcription factors are key regulators of several plant development processes. Analysis of the complete Arabidopsis genome sequence revealed 107 genes encoding MADS-box proteins, of which 84% are of unknown function. Here, we provide a complete overview of this family, describing the gene structure, gene expression, genome localization, protein motif organization, and phylogenetic relationship of each member. We have divided this transcription factor family into five groups (named MIKC, Malpha, Mbeta, Mgamma, and Mdelta) based on the phylogenetic relationships of the conserved MADS-box domain. This study provides a solid base for functional genomics studies into this important family of plant regulatory genes, including the poorly characterized group of M-type MADS-box proteins. MADS-box genes also constitute an excellent system with which to study the evolution of complex gene families in higher plants.

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