B and C floral organ identity functions require SEPALLATA MADS-box genes

Nature. 2000 May 11;405(6783):200-3. doi: 10.1038/35012103.


Abnormal flowers have been recognized for thousands of years, but only in the past decade have the mysteries of flower development begun to unfold. Among these mysteries is the differentiation of four distinct organ types (sepals, petals, stamens and carpels), each of which may be a modified leaf. A landmark accomplishment in plant developmental biology is the ABC model of flower organ identity. This simple model provides a conceptual framework for explaining how the individual and combined activities of the ABC genes produce the four organ types of the typical eudicot flower. Here we show that the activities of the B and C organ-identity genes require the activities of three closely related and functionally redundant MADS-box genes, SEPALLATA1/2/3 (SEP1/2/3). Triple mutant Arabidopsis plants lacking the activity of all three SEP genes produce flowers in which all organs develop as sepals. Thus SEP1/2/3 are a class of organ-identity genes that is required for development of petals, stamens and carpels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Genes, Plant*
  • MADS Domain Proteins
  • Mutation
  • Plant Proteins
  • Plant Structures / physiology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Transcription Factors / genetics


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • MADS Domain Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Transcription Factors