The UNUSUAL FLORAL ORGANS gene of Arabidopsis thaliana is an F-box protein required for normal patterning and growth in the floral meristem

Plant J. 1999 Nov;20(4):433-45. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.1999.00617.x.


Genetic and molecular studies have suggested that the UNUSUAL FLORAL ORGANS (UFO) gene, from Arabidopsis thaliana, is expressed in all shoot apical meristems, and is involved in the regulation of a complex set of developmental events during floral development, including floral meristem and floral organ identity. Results from in situ hybridization using genes expressed early in floral development as probes indicate that UFO controls growth of young floral primordia. Transgenic constructs were used to provide evidence that UFO regulates floral organ identity by activating or maintaining transcription of the class B organ-identity gene APETALA 3, but not PISTILLATA. In an attempt to understand the biochemical mode of action of the UFO gene product, we show here that UFO is an F-box protein that interacts with Arabidopsis SKP1-like proteins, both in the yeast two-hybrid system and in vitro. In yeast and other organisms both F-box proteins and SKP1 homologues are subunits of specific ubiquitin E3 enzyme complexes that target specific proteins for degradation. The protein selected for degradation by the complex is specified by the F-box proteins. It is therefore possible that the role of UFO is to target for degradation specific proteins controlling normal growth patterns in the floral primordia, as well as proteins that negatively regulate APETALA 3 transcription.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis Proteins*
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Transcription Factors*


  • ASK1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • DNA Primers
  • Plant Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • UFO protein, Arabidopsis

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U97020
  • GENBANK/U97021