Proliferating Floral Organs (Pfo), a Lotus japonicus gene required for specifying floral meristem determinacy and organ identity, encodes an F-box protein

Plant J. 2003 Feb;33(4):607-19. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2003.01660.x.


To study flower development in the model legume Lotus japonicus, a population of transgenic plants containing a maize transposable element (Ac) in their genome was screened for floral mutants. One mutation named proliferating floral organs (pfo) causes plants to produce a large number of sepal-like organs instead of normal flowers. It segregates as a single recessive Mendelian locus, and causes sterility. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that pfo affects the identity, number and arrangement of floral organs. Sepal-like organs form in the first whorl, and secondary floral meristems are produced in the next whorl. These in turn produce sepal-like organs in the first whorl and floral meristems in the second whorl, and the process is reiterated. Petals and stamens are absent while carpels are either absent or reduced. The pfo phenotype was correlated with the presence of an Ac insertion yielding a 1.6-kb HindIII restriction fragment on Southern blots. Both the mutant phenotype and this Ac element are unstable. Using the transposon as a tag, the Pfo gene was isolated. Conceptual translation of Pfo predicts a protein containing an F-box, with high overall similarity to the Antirrhinum FIMBRIATA, Arabidopsis UNUSUAL FLORAL ORGANS and Pisum sativum Stamina pistilloida proteins. This suggests that Pfo may regulate floral organ identity and meristem determinacy by targeting proteins for ubiquitination.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Transposable Elements / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Flowers / genetics
  • Flowers / growth & development*
  • Flowers / ultrastructure
  • Lotus / genetics*
  • Lotus / growth & development
  • Lotus / ultrastructure
  • Meristem / genetics*
  • Meristem / growth & development
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / physiology
  • Ubiquitin / metabolism


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Plant Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Ubiquitin

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AY156687