A Whole-Genome Microarray Study of Arabidopsis thaliana Semisolid Callus Cultures Exposed to Microgravity and Nonmicrogravity Related Spaceflight Conditions for 5 Days on Board of Shenzhou 8
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AbstractThe Simbox mission was the first joint space project between Germany and China in November 2011. Eleven-day-old Arabidopsis thaliana wild type semisolid callus cultures were integrated into fully automated plant cultivation containers and exposed to spaceflight conditions within the Simbox hardware on board of the spacecraft Shenzhou 8. The related ground experiment was conducted under similar conditions. The use of an in-flight centrifuge provided a 1 g gravitational field in space. The cells were metabolically quenched after 5 days via RNAlater injection. The impact on the Arabidopsis transcriptome was investigated by means of whole-genome gene expression analysis. The results show a major impact of nonmicrogravity related spaceflight conditions. Genes that were significantly altered in transcript abundance are mainly involved in protein phosphorylation and MAPK cascade-related signaling processes, as well as in the cellular defense and stress responses. In contrast to short-term effects of microgravity (seconds, minutes), this mission identified only minor changes after 5 days of microgravity. These concerned genes coding for proteins involved in the plastid-associated translation machinery, mitochondrial electron transport, and energy production.