In Arabidopsis thaliana, the three MADS box genes SEEDSTICK (STK), SHATTERPROOF1 (SHP1), and SHP2 redundantly regulate ovule development. Protein interaction studies have shown that a multimeric complex composed of the ovule identity proteins together with the SEPALLATA MADS domain proteins is necessary to determine ovule identity. Despite the extensive knowledge that has become available about these MADS domain transcription factors, little is known regarding the genes that they regulate. Here, we show that STK, SHP1, and SHP2 redundantly regulate VERDANDI (VDD), a putative transcription factor that belongs to the plant-specific B3 superfamily. The vdd mutant shows defects during the fertilization process resulting in semisterility. Analysis of the vdd mutant female gametophytes indicates that antipodal and synergid cell identity and/or differentiation are affected. Our results provide insights into the pathways regulated by the ovule identity factors and the role of the downstream target gene VDD in female gametophyte development.
- MADS Domain Proteins