Regulatory Genes in Plant Development: MADS


MADS‐box genes are found in all major groups of eukaryotes and encode known or putative transcription factors. MADS‐box genes have been phylogenetically defined as type I and type II genes. In plants, type II MADS‐domain proteins typically have the MADS, Intervening, K‐domain, C‐terminal (MIKC) domain organization, with conserved MADS and K domains. Many of the plant type II MADS‐box genes have important regulatory functions in development, including the specification of flower organ identities, the control of flowering time, the regulation of meristem identity and the promotion of reproductive organ development. Recent studies have provided further insights into the regulation of MADS‐box genes and uncovered additional functions in controlling the development of various structures, such as embryo, endosperm, gametophyte and roots. In addition, protein physical interaction and genetic studies support the hypothesis that MADS‐box proteins form multimeric protein complexes that regulate specific target genes.

Keywords: floral organ identity; MADS‐box; protein complex; regulation; reproduction

Figure 1.

An Arabidopsis flower in longitudinal section.

Figure 2.

The ABC model for floral organ identity. (a) Longitudinal section of a floral meristem, with sepal primordia just formed. The numbers indicate the regions of the meristem that correspond to each whorl. (b) A cartoon of the ABC model with each function represented by a box occupying the appropriate whorls.

Figure 3.

The domain structure of plant MIKC type MADS‐domain proteins. N, N‐terminal region; M, MADS domain; I, interdomain region; K, K domain and C, C‐terminal region. The functions or putative functions are indicated.



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Further Reading

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Simpson GG (2004) The autonomous pathway: epigenetic and post‐transcriptional gene regulation in the control of Arabidopsis flowering time. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 7: 570–574.

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Ma, Hong(Sep 2009) Regulatory Genes in Plant Development: MADS. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0003631.pub2]