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Plant Cell Physiol. 2004 Jul;45(7):831-44.

Four DEF-like MADS box genes displayed distinct floral morphogenetic roles in Phalaenopsis orchid.

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Department of Biology, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan 701, Taiwan.


The complex flower organization of orchids offers an opportunity to discover new variant genes and different levels of complexity in the morphogenesis of flowers. In this study, four B-class Phalaenopsis DEF-like MADS-box genes were identified and characterized, including PeMADS2, PeMADS3, PeMADS4 and PeMADS5. Differential expression profiles of these genes were detected in the floral organs of P. equestris, suggesting distinctive roles in the floral morphogenesis of orchids. Furthermore, expressions of these genes were varied to different extents in the peloric mutants with lip-like petals. Expression of PeMADS4 was in lips and columns of wild type, and it extended to the lip-like petals in the peloric mutant. Expression of PeMADS5 was mainly in petals and to a lesser extent in columns in the wild type, whereas it was completely eliminated in the peloric mutant. Disruption of the PeMADS5 promoter region of the peloric mutant was detected at nucleotide +312 relative to the upstream of translational start codon, suggesting that a DNA rearrangement has occurred in the peloric mutant. Genomic structure analysis of the PeMADS5 showed that the exon length was conserved in exons 1-6, similar to DEF-like genes of other plants. Collectively, this is the first report that four DEF-like MADS genes were identified in a single monocotyledonous species and that they may play distinctive morphogenetic roles in the floral development of an orchid.

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