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Plant Cell. 1994 Dec;6(12):1775-87.

Comparison of MADS box gene expression in developing male and female flowers of the dioecious plant white campion.

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Max-Planck-Institut f├╝r Z├╝chtungsforschung, Cologne, Germany.


The MADS box motif is common to genes that regulate the pattern of flower development. To determine whether MADS box genes also play a role in differentiation of the sexes in dioecious plants, we isolated cDNAs (SLM1 to SLM5, for Silene latifolia MADS) with MADS box homology from transcripts of male flower buds of the model dioecious species white campion and compared their expression in developing female and male flowers. SLM1 had extensive sequence similarity to the snapdragon MADS box gene PLENA, SLM2 to GLOBOSA, SLM3 to DEFICIENS, and both SLM4 and SLM5 were similar to SQUAMOSA. Each of the white campion MADS box genes was expressed in the same floral whorls as their respective most homologous snapdragon genes. The sex of the plant affected the pattern of SLM2 and SLM3 expression in the petal and stamen whorls, resulting in a smaller fourth whorl in male flowers than in female flowers. This was correlated with repressed gynoecium development in male flowers. The expression of SLM4 and SLM5 in both sexes differed from that of SQUAMOSA in one important aspect. Unlike SQUAMOSA, they were expressed in inflorescence meristems. This may reflect differences in growth pattern between white campion and snapdragon.

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