There are two groups of MADS intervening keratin-like and C-terminal (MIKC)-type MADS box genes, MIKCC type and MIKC* type. In seed plants, the MIKCC type shows considerable diversity, but the MIKC* type has only two subgroups, P- and S-clade, which show conserved expression in the gametophyte. To examine the functional conservation of MIKC*-type genes, we characterized all three rice (Oryza sativa) MIKC*-type genes. All three genes are specifically expressed late in pollen development. The single knockdown or knockout lines, respectively, of the S-clade MADS62 and MADS63 did not show a mutant phenotype, but lines in which both S-clade genes were affected showed severe defects in pollen maturation and germination, as did knockdown lines of MADS68, the only P-clade gene in rice. The rice MIKC*-type proteins form strong heterodimeric complexes solely with partners from the other subclade; these complexes specifically bind to N10-type C-A-rich-G-boxes in vitro and regulate downstream gene expression by binding to N10-type promoter motifs. The rice MIKC* genes have a much lower degree of functional redundancy than the Arabidopsis thaliana MIKC* genes. Nevertheless, our data indicate that the function of heterodimeric MIKC*-type protein complexes in pollen development has been conserved since the divergence of monocots and eudicots, roughly 150 million years ago.