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Novel Explorations Into the Interactions Between Light and Gravity Sensing in Plants - Seedling Growth-1 (ARC00XX133)
Principal Investigators
Research Area:
Cell and molecular biology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Arabidopsis thaliana Species: Mouse-ear cress


The major goals of this project are to determine how gravity and light responses influence each other in plants and to better understand the cellular signaling mechanisms involved in plant tropisms. This proposed project builds on our previous spaceflight experiments on the ISS (TROPI-1, 2006; TROPI-2, 2010) with the EMCS using the model plant Arabidopsis. In this new proposed project, we plan to confirm and extend our discovery during the recent TROPI-2 ISS experiment of a novel red-light-based positive phototropic response in plant shoots.

Thus, the specific objectives of this proposed research are: (1) To confirm and characterize the novel red light-dependent phototropic response in flowering plants. (2) To investigate the relationship between light and gravity by measuring thresholds in fractional gravity. (3) To determine whether the red light effect on blue-light-based phototropism is a direct or indirect effect.

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Vandenbrink, J.P.; Kiss, J.Z.; Herranz, R.; and Medina, F.J.: Light and gravity signals synergize in modulating plant development. Frontiers in Plant Science, vol. 5, 2014, p. 563. [DOI]

Kiss, J.Z.; Aanes, G.; Schiefloe, M.; Coelho, L.H.F.; Millar, K.D.; Edelman, R.E. Changes in operational procedures to improve spaceflight experiments in plant biology in the European Modular Cultivation System. Advances in Space Research, Volume 53, Issue 5, 1 March 2014, Pages 818–827. [DOI]

Valbuena MA, Manzano A, Vandenbrink JP, Pereda-Loth V, Carnero-Diaz E, Edelmann RE, Kiss JZ, Herranz R, Medina FJ. The combined effects of real or simulated microgravity and red-light photoactivation on plant root meristematic cells. Planta. 2018 Jun 8. [DOI]

Vandenbrink JP, Kiss JZ. Preparation of a spaceflight experiment to study tropisms in Arabidopsis seedlings on the International Space Station Methods Mol Biol. 2019;1924:207-14. [DOI]

Herranz R, Vandenbrink JP, Villacampa A, Manzano A, Poehlman WL, Feltus FA, Kiss JZ, Medina FJ. RNAseq analysis of the response of Arabidopsis thaliana to fractional gravity under blue-light stimulation during spaceflight. Front Plant Sci. 2019 Nov 26;10:1529. [DOI]

Kiss JZ, Wolverton C, Wyatt SE, Hasenstein KH, van Loon JJWA. Comparison of microgravity analogs to spaceflight in studies of plant growth and development. Front Plant Sci. 2019 Dec 6;10:1577. [DOI]

Manzano A, Villacampa A, Sáez-Vásquez J, Kiss JZ, Medina FJ, Herranz R. The importance of Earth reference controls in spaceflight-omics research: Characterization of nucleolin mutants from the Seedling Growth experiments. iScience. 2020 Nov 20;23(11):101686. [DOI]

Villacampa A, Ciska M, Manzano A, Vandenbrink JP, Kiss JZ, Herranz R, Medina FJ. From spaceflight to Mars g-levels: Adaptive response of A. thaliana seedlings in a reduced gravity environment is enhanced by red-light photostimulation. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jan 18;22(2):899. [DOI]

Cell cycle
Cellular Structures
Indoleacetic acid (IAA)
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
SpaceX-2 03/01/2013 03/26/2013 25 days

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Ames Research Center (ARC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Ames Research Center LSDA Level 3
Project Manager: Sylvain Costes
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source