During reproductive development, rice plants develop unique flower organs which determine the final grain yield. OsMADS1, one of SEPALLATA-like MADS-box genes, has been unraveled to play critical roles in rice floral organ identity specification and floral meristem determinacy. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying interactions of OsMADS1 with other floral homeotic genes in regulating flower development remains largely elusive. In this work, we studied the genetic interactions of OsMADS1 with B-, C-, and D-class genes along with physical interactions among their proteins. We show that the physical and genetic interactions between OsMADS1 and OsMADS3 are essential for floral meristem activity maintenance and organ identity specification; while OsMADS1 physically and genetically interacts with OsMADS58 in regulating floral meristem determinacy and suppressing spikelet meristem reversion. We provided important genetic evidence to support the neofunctionalization of two rice C-class genes (OsMADS3 and OsMADS58) during flower development. Gene expression profiling and quantitative RT-PCR analyses further revealed that OsMADS1 affects the expression of many genes involved in floral identity and hormone signaling, and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-PCR assay further demonstrated that OsMADS17 is a direct target gene of OsMADS1. Taken together, these results reveal that OsMADS1 has diversified regulatory functions in specifying rice floral organ and meristem identity, probably through its genetic and physical interactions with different floral homeotic regulators.
Keywords: OsMADS1; floral homeotic genes; floral meristem; floral organ identity; regulatory network.
Copyright © 2015 The Author. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.