In Arabidopsis, different combinations of ABC organ identity proteins interact in the presence of SEPALLATA (SEP) proteins to regulate floral organ differentiation. Ectopic expression of SEP3 in combination with class A and B or B and C genes is sufficient to homeotically convert vegetative leaves into petal-like organs and bracts into stamen-like structures, respectively. Recently, it has been shown that the three MADS-box genes SEEDSTICK (STK), SHATTERPROOF1 (SHP1) and SHP2 act redundantly to control ovule identity. Protein interaction assays performed in yeast in combination with genetic studies demonstrated that these MADS-box factors only interact in the presence of SEP proteins to form complexes that determine ovule differentiation. Here, we address the question whether the ectopic co-expression of ovule identity proteins is sufficient to induce the homeotic conversion of vegetative leaves into carpel-like structures bearing ovules. We present the phenotypic characterization of Arabidopsis plants that ectopically express ovule identity factors under the regulation of the ethanol inducible gene expression system. These experiments indicate that the ectopic co-expression of SEP3 and SHP1 and/or STK is probably not sufficient to homeotically transform vegetative tissues into carpels with ovules. However, comparing the phenotypes obtained by ectopic expression of STK and/or SHP1 with or without SEP3 shows that co-expression of factors that are able to form complexes in yeast cause more extreme homeotic transformations, confirming the functional role of these complexes in vivo.
- Ethanol induction
- MADS Domain Proteins