Plastid position in Arabidopsis columella cells is similar in microgravity and on a random-positioning machine
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In order to study gravity effects on plant structure and function, it may become necessary to remove the g-stimulus. On Earth, various instruments such as clinostats have been used by biologists in an attempt to neutralize the effects of gravity. In this study, the position of amyloplasts was assayed in columella cells in the roots of Arabidopsisthaliana (L.) Heynh. seedlings grown in the following conditions: on Earth, on a two-dimensional clinostat at 1 rpm, on a three-dimensional clinostat (also called a random-positioning machine, or an RPM), and in space (true microgravity). In addition, the effects of these gravity treatments on columella cell area and plastid area also were measured. In terms of the parameters measured, only amyloplast position was affected by the gravity treatments. Plastid position was not significantly different between spaceflight and RPM conditions but was significantly different between spaceflight and the classical two-dimensional clinostat treatments. Flanking columella cells showed a greater susceptibility to changes in gravity compared to the central columella cells. In addition, columella cells of seedlings that were grown on the RPM did not exhibit deleterious effects in terms of their ultrastructure as has been reported previously for seedlings grown on a two-dimensional clinostat. This study supports the hypothesis that the RPM provides a useful simulation of weightlessness.
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