A conserved microRNA module exerts homeotic control over Petunia hybrida and Antirrhinum majus floral organ identity

Nat Genet. 2007 Jul;39(7):901-5. doi: 10.1038/ng2056. Epub 2007 Jun 24.


It is commonly thought that deep phylogenetic conservation of plant microRNAs (miRNAs) and their targets indicates conserved regulatory functions. We show that the blind (bl) mutant of Petunia hybrida and the fistulata (fis) mutant of Antirrhinum majus, which have similar homeotic phenotypes, are recessive alleles of two homologous miRNA-encoding genes. The BL and FIS genes control the spatial restriction of homeotic class C genes to the inner floral whorls, but their ubiquitous early floral expression patterns are in contradiction with a potential role in patterning C gene expression. We provide genetic evidence for the unexpected function of the MIRFIS and MIRBL genes in the center of the flower and propose a dynamic mechanism underlying their regulatory role. Notably, Arabidopsis thaliana, a more distantly related species, also contains this miRNA module but does not seem to use it to confine early C gene expression to the center of the flower.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antirrhinum / chemistry
  • Antirrhinum / genetics*
  • Body Patterning / physiology
  • Conserved Sequence*
  • Flowers / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / physiology*
  • Genes, Homeobox / physiology*
  • MicroRNAs / chemistry
  • MicroRNAs / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Petunia / chemistry
  • Petunia / genetics*


  • MicroRNAs

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AM422770
  • GENBANK/AM422771
  • GENBANK/AM422772
  • GENBANK/AM422773
  • GENBANK/AM422774
  • GENBANK/AM422775
  • GENBANK/AM422776
  • GENBANK/AM489758
  • GENBANK/AM489759
  • GENBANK/AM489760
  • GENBANK/AM489761
  • GENBANK/AM489762
  • GENBANK/AM489763
  • GENBANK/AM489765