Floral Organ Identity Genes in the Orchid Dendrobium Crumenatum

Plant J. 2006 Apr;46(1):54-68. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2006.02669.x.


Orchids are members of Orchidaceae, one of the largest families in the flowering plants. Among the angiosperms, orchids are unique in their floral patterning, particularly in floral structures and organ identity. The ABCDE model was proposed as a general model to explain flower development in diverse plant groups, however the extent to which this model is applicable to orchids is still unknown. To investigate the regulatory mechanisms underlying orchid flower development, we isolated candidates for A, B, C, D and E function genes from Dendrobium crumenatum. These include AP2-, PI/GLO-, AP3/DEF-, AG- and SEP-like genes. The expression profiles of these genes exhibited different patterns from their Arabidopsis orthologs in floral patterning. Functional studies showed that DcOPI and DcOAG1 could replace the functions of PI and AG in Arabidopsis, respectively. By using chimeric repressor silencing technology, DcOAP3A was found to be another putative B function gene. Yeast two-hybrid analysis demonstrated that DcOAP3A/B and DcOPI could form heterodimers. These heterodimers could further interact with DcOSEP to form higher protein complexes, similar to their orthologs in eudicots. Our findings suggested that there is partial conservation in the B and C function genes between Arabidopsis and orchid. However, gene duplication might have led to the divergence in gene expression and regulation, possibly followed by functional divergence, resulting in the unique floral ontogeny in orchids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Body Patterning / genetics
  • Dendrobium / genetics*
  • Dendrobium / growth & development
  • Dendrobium / metabolism
  • Flowers / anatomy & histology
  • Flowers / genetics
  • Flowers / growth & development
  • Gene Duplication
  • Genes, Plant / physiology*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Homeodomain Proteins / physiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins / physiology
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / anatomy & histology
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / growth & development
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • Sequence Alignment


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Plant Proteins