MADS-box genes have been shown to play a major role in defining plant architecture. Recently, several MADS-box genes have been reported that are highly expressed in the ovule. However, only for the Petunia genes FBP7 and FBP11 has a function in defining ovule identity been shown. We have isolated a rice MADS-box gene named OsMADS13. Expression analysis has shown that this gene is highly expressed in developing ovules. In order to facilitate a detailed characterization of rice ovule-expressed genes, a comprehensive morphological description of ovule development in rice has been performed. The predicted amino acid sequence of OsMADS13 shows significant homology with ZAG2, a maize MADS-box gene, which is also expressed mainly in the ovule. Mapping of the gene in the rice genome showed that it is located on chromosome 12, which is syntenic to two maize regions where ZAG2 and its paralogous gene ZMM1 have been mapped. Our results suggest that OsMADS13 is the ortholog of ZAG2 and ZMM1 and might play a role in rice ovule and seed development.
Copyright 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.