• complex formation;
  • divergence;
  • flower development;
  • orchid;
  • Phalaenopsis;


  • The Phalaenopsis orchid produces complex flowers that are commercially valuable, which has promoted the study of its flower development. E-class MADS-box genes, SEPALLATA (SEP), combined with B-, C- and D-class MADS-box genes, are involved in various aspects of plant development, such as floral meristem determination, organ identity, fruit maturation, seed formation and plant architecture.
  • Four SEP-like genes were cloned from Phalaenopsis orchid, and the duplicated PeSEPs were grouped into PeSEP1/3 and PeSEP2/4.
  • All PeSEPs were expressed in all floral organs. PeSEP2 expression was detectable in vegetative tissues. The study of protein–protein interactions suggested that PeSEPs may form higher order complexes with the B-, C-, D-class and AGAMOUS LIKE6-related MADS-box proteins to determine floral organ identity. The tepal became a leaf-like organ when PeSEP3 was silenced by virus-induced silencing, with alterations in epidermis identity and contents of anthocyanin and chlorophyll. Silencing of PeSEP2 had minor effects on the floral phenotype. Silencing of the E-class genes PeSEP2 and PeSEP3 resulted in the downregulation of B-class PeMADS2-6 genes, which indicates an association of PeSEP functions and B-class gene expression.
  • These findings reveal the important roles of PeSEP in Phalaenopsis floral organ formation throughout the developmental process by the formation of various multiple protein complexes.