Arabidopsis transcriptional response to fractional gravity during spaceflight under blue-light (Frontiers Plant Sci)

A plant’s response to a microgravity environment allows for dissection of molecular pathways governing gravity sensing and other integrated pathways, such as phototropism. Renewed interest in long-term space travel also requires that plant behavior and growth under microgravity is well-understood and predictable. In this study, Herranz et al. report on the transcriptional changes underlying unilateral blue-light phototropism under six different gravity levels on the International Space Station. Compared to 1g (normal Earth gravity), the group found 12 genes whose transcription changed across the different fractional and microgravity levels tested. Additionally, as the fractional gravity experienced by plants increased, the number and effect size of those genes decreased as the treatment approached 1g. Documenting these transcriptional changes under varying abiotic treatments may pave the way for a better understanding how plants perceive and coordinate a single response to multiple tropic cues. (Summary by Nathan Scinto-Madonich) Front. Plant Sci.10.3389/fpls.2019.01529