The functions of two rice MADS-box genes were studied by the loss-of-function approach. The first gene, OsMADS4, shows a significant homology to members in the PISTILLATA (PI) family, which is required to specify petal and stamen identity. The second gene, OsMADS3, is highly homologous to the members in the AGAMOUS (AG) family that is essential for the normal development of the internal two whorls, the stamen and carpel, of the flower. These two rice MADS box cDNA clones were connected to the maize ubiquitin promoter in an antisense orientation and the fusion molecules were introduced to rice plants by the Agrobacterium-mediated transformation method. Transgenic plants expressing antisense OsMADS4 displayed alterations of the second and third whorls. The second-whorl lodicules, which are equivalent to the petals of dicot plants in grasses, were altered into palea/lemma-like organs, and the third whorl stamens were changed to carpel-like organs. Loss-of-function analysis of OsMADS3 showed alterations in the third and fourth whorls. In the third whorl, the filaments of the transgenic plants were changed into thick and fleshy bodies, similar to lodicules. Rather than making a carpel, the fourth whorl produced several abnormal flowers. These phenotypes are similar to those of the agamous and plena mutants in Arabidopsis and Antirrhinum, respectively. These results suggest that OsMADS4 belongs to the class B gene family and OsMADS3 belongs to the class C gene family of floral organ identity determination.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2004
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