PROSITE documentation PDOC00302
MADS-box domain signature and profile


A number of transcription factors contain a conserved domain of 56 amino-acid residues, sometimes known as the MADS-box domain. They are listed below:

  • Serum response factor (SRF) [1], a mammalian transcription factor that binds to the Serum Response Element (SRE). This is a short sequence of dyad symmetry located 300 bp to the 5' end of the transcription initiation site of genes such as c-fos.
  • Mammalian myocyte-specific enhancer factors 2A to 2D (MEF2A to MEF2D). These proteins are transcription factor which binds specifically to the MEF2 element present in the regulatory regions of many muscle-specific genes.
  • Drosophila myocyte-specific enhancer factor 2 (MEF2).
  • Yeast GRM/PRTF protein (gene MCM1) [2], a transcriptional regulator of mating-type-specific genes.
  • Yeast arginine metabolism regulation protein I (gene ARGR1 or ARG80).
  • Yeast transcription factor RLM1.
  • Yeast transcription factor SMP1.
  • Arabidopsis thaliana agamous protein (AG) [3], a probable transcription factor involved in regulating genes that determines stamen and carpel development in wild-type flowers. Mutations in the AG gene result in the replacement of the stamens by petals and the carpels by a new flower.
  • Arabidopsis thaliana homeotic proteins Apetala1 (AP1), Apetala3 (AP3) and Pistillata (PI) which act locally to specify the identity of the floral meristem and to determine sepal and petal development [4].
  • Antirrhinum majus and tobacco homeotic protein deficiens (DEFA) and globosa (GLO) [5]. Both proteins are transcription factors involved in the genetic control of flower development. Mutations in DEFA or GLO cause the transformation of petals into sepals and of stamina into carpels.
  • Arabidopsis thaliana putative transcription factors AGL1 to AGL6 [6].
  • Antirrhinum majus morphogenetic protein DEF H33 (squamosa).

In SRF, the conserved domain has been shown [1] to be involved in DNA-binding and dimerization. We have derived a pattern that spans the complete length of the domain. The profile also spans the length of the MADS-box.

Last update:

April 2006 / Pattern revised.


Technical section

PROSITE methods (with tools and information) covered by this documentation:

MADS_BOX_2, PS50066; MADS-box domain profile  (MATRIX)

MADS_BOX_1, PS00350; MADS-box domain signature  (PATTERN)


1AuthorsNorman C. Runswick M. Pollock R. Treisman R.
TitleIsolation and properties of cDNA clones encoding SRF, a transcription factor that binds to the c-fos serum response element.
SourceCell 55:989-1003(1988).
PubMed ID3203386

2AuthorsPassmore S. Maine G.T. Elble R. Christ C. Tye B.-K.
TitleSaccharomyces cerevisiae protein involved in plasmid maintenance is necessary for mating of MAT alpha cells.
SourceJ. Mol. Biol. 204:593-606(1988).
PubMed ID3066908

3AuthorsYanofsky M.F. Ma H. Bowman J.L. Drews G.N. Feldmann K.A. Meyerowitz E.M.
TitleThe protein encoded by the Arabidopsis homeotic gene agamous resembles transcription factors.
SourceNature 346:35-39(1990).
PubMed ID1973265

4AuthorsGoto K. Meyerowitz E.M.
TitleFunction and regulation of the Arabidopsis floral homeotic gene PISTILLATA.
SourceGenes Dev. 8:1548-1560(1994).
PubMed ID7958839

5AuthorsTroebner W. Ramirez L. Motte P. Hue I. Huijser P. Loennig W.-E. Saedler H. Sommer H. Schwartz-Sommer Z.
SourceEMBO J. 11:4693-4704(1992).

6AuthorsMa H. Yanofsky M.F. Meyerowitz E.M.
TitleAGL1-AGL6, an Arabidopsis gene family with similarity to floral homeotic and transcription factor genes.
SourceGenes Dev. 5:484-495(1991).
PubMed ID1672119

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