MADS-box 13th ICGGFI - The Family of MADS Box Genes...

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©2005 by MEDIMOND S.r.l. 15 F917R9020 The Family of MADS – Box Genes Controlling Flower Development in Crocus ( Crocus sativus L . ) A.S. Tsaftaris 1, 2 , K. Pasentsis 1 , A. Kalivas 2 and A.N. Polidoros 1 1 Institute of Agrobiotechnology, CERTH, Thermi, 2 Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding, AUTh, Thessaloniki, Greece Abstract In order to uncover and understand the molecular mechanisms controlling flower development in cultivated Crocus sativus and particularly the forma- tion of tepals, we have cloned and characterized their structures and expres- sions of the families of flower specific MADS-Box genes. The deduced amino acid sequence of the gene indicated high homology with members of the MADS-box family of transcription factors. The expression studies of the B- type MADs – Box genes CsatPI and CsatAP3 indicated the presence of the transcripts are not restricted only in the second and third whorl of the flowers but also in the outer tepals and stigmata of the mature crocus flower parts, explaining the homeotic transformation of sepals to petals in that species. Introduction MADS box genes encode a family of transcription factors that are involved in different developmental processes. Genetic and molecular analysis of floral homeotic mutants in Arabidopsis and snapdragon (Yanofsky et al., 1990) led to the discovery of the first MADS box genes in plants and subsequently accelerated the molecular elucidation of the classic ABC model of flower development. Where, all of the major players in the ABC model belong to the MADS box gene family with the exception of APETALLA2. Crocus sativus , a monocot triploid species belonging to the Iridaceae fam- ily, is cultivated for its red stigmatic lobes of the carpel that constitute saffron. It is cultivated in Southern Europe (mainly in Greece), Iran, and India. It is popular because of its delicate aroma and attractive color and can be used as
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16 13th International Congress on Genes, Gene Families and Isozymes – ICGGFI a food additive, as well as in medicine and the coloring industry. Saffron has three main chemical components that confer the bright yellow color (crocein), a bitter taste (picrocrocein) and a spicy aroma (saffronal). The flowers of crocus are bisexual. Perianth consists of 6 petaloid tepals in two whorls. Androecium consists of 3 distinct stamens and the gynoecium consists of a
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MADS-box 13th ICGGFI - The Family of MADS Box Genes...

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