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Mol Cells. 1997 Aug 31;7(4):559-66.

Characterization of two rice MADS box genes that control flowering time.

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Department of Life Science, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Korea.


Plants contain a variety of the MADS box genes that encode regulatory proteins and play important roles in both the formation of flower meristem and the determination of floral organ identity. We have characterized two flower-specific cDNAs from rice, designated OsMADS7 and OsMADS8. The cDNAs displayed the structure of a typical plant MADS box gene, which consists of the MADS domain, I region, K domain, and C-terminal region. These genes were classified as members of the AGL2 gene family based on sequence homology. The OsMADS7 and 8 proteins were most homologous to OM1 and FBP2, respectively. The OsMADS7 and 8 transcripts were detectable primarily in carpels and also weakly in anthers. During flower development, the OsMADS genes started to express at the young flower stage and the expression continued to the late stage of flower development. The OsMADS7 and 8 genes were mapped on the long arms of the chromosome 8 and 9, respectively. To study the functions of the genes, the cDNA clones were expressed ectopically using the CaMV 35S promoter in a heterologous tobacco plant system. Transgenic plants expressing the OsMADS genes exhibited the phenotype of early flowering and dwarfism. The strength of the phenotypes was proportional to the levels of transgene expression and the phenotypes were co-inherited with the kanamycin resistant gene to the next generation. These results indicate that OsMADS7 and 8 are structurally related to the AGL2 family and are involved in controlling flowering time.

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