Whole-genome survey and characterization of MADS-box gene family in maize and sorghum

  • Yang Zhao
  • Xiaoyu Li
  • Wenjuan Chen
  • Xiaojian Peng
  • Xiao Cheng
  • Suwen Zhu
  • Beijiu ChengEmail author
Original Paper


MADS-box genes comprise a large gene family, which codes for transcription factors, and play important functions in various aspects of flowering plant growth and development. However, little is known about the MADS-box genes in maize (Zea mays) and sorghum (Sorghum bicolor). Here, we performed a comprehensive bioinformatics analysis of the MADS-box gene family in the maize and sorghum genomes and identified 75 maize and 65 sorghum MADS-box genes. We subsequently carried out a comparative analysis of these genes, including the gene structure, phylogenetic relationship, conserved protein motifs, gene duplications, chromosomal locations and expression pattern between the two plants. According to these analyses, the MADS-box genes in both maize and sorghum were categorized into five (MIKCC, MIKC*, Mα, Mβ and Mγ) groups, and the MIKCC groups were further divided into 11 subfamilies. In addition, gene duplications of MADS-box genes were also investigated in the maize, sorghum, rice and Arabidopsis genomes. We found a higher percentage of MADS-box gene duplications in the maize and sorghum genomes, which contributed to the expansion of the MADS-box gene family. Furthermore, both tandem and segmental duplications played a major role in the MADS-box gene expansion in maize and sorghum. A survey of maize and sorghum EST sequences indicated that MADS-box genes exhibit a various expression pattern, suggesting diverse and novel functions of MADS-box gene families in the two plants. These results provided a useful reference for selection of candidate MADS-box genes for cloning and further functional analysis in both maize and sorghum.


MADS-box Maize Sorghum Phylogenetic analysis Duplication Expression patterns 



This work was supported by grants from the National High-Tech Research and Development Program (863 Program) (No. 2008AA10Z408) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 10675002). We thank members of the Key Laboratory of Crop biology of Anhui province for their assistance in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yang Zhao
    • 1
  • Xiaoyu Li
    • 1
  • Wenjuan Chen
    • 1
  • Xiaojian Peng
    • 1
  • Xiao Cheng
    • 1
  • Suwen Zhu
    • 1
  • Beijiu Cheng
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Crop Biology of Anhui ProvinceAnhui Agricultural UniversityHefeiChina

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