Characterization of oil palm MADS box genes in relation to the mantled flower abnormality

S. Syed Alwee, C.G. van der Linden, J. van der Schoot, S. de Folter, G.C. Angenent, S.C. Cheah, M.J.M. Smulders

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    27 Citations (Scopus)


    In vitro propagation of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) frequently induces a somaclonal variant called `mantled¿ abnormality, in which the stamens of both male and female flowers are transformed into carpels. This leads to a reduced yield or complete loss of the harvest of palm oil. The high frequency of the abnormality in independent lines and the high reversal rate suggest that it is due to an epigenetic change. The type of morphological changes suggest that it involves homeotic MADS box genes that regulate the identity of the flower whorls. We have isolated a number of MADS box genes from oil palm inflorescences by a MADS box-directed mRNA display approach. The isolated partial cDNAs included genes that were likely to function at the initial stages of flowering as well as genes that may function in determination of the inflorescence and the identity of the flower whorls. For four genes that were homologous to genes known to affect the reproductive parts of the flower, full length cDNAs were isolated. These were a B-type MADS box gene which may function in the determination of stamen formation, a C-type gene expected to be involved in stamen and carpel formation, and two putative SEP genes which act in concert with the A-, B- and C-type MADS box gene in determining flower whorl formation. The B-type gene EgMADS16 was functionally characterized as a PISTILLATA orthologue; it was able to complement an Arabidopsis thaliana pi mutant. Whether EgMADS16, or any of the other EgMADS genes, are functionally involved in the mantled condition remains to be established.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)331-344
    JournalPlant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture: an international journal on in vitro culture of higher plants
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


    • floral organ identity
    • temporally regulated expression
    • elaeis-guineensis
    • somaclonal variation
    • molecular characterization
    • functional-analysis
    • in-vitro
    • arabidopsis
    • maize
    • tissue

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