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Gene expression changes induced by space flight in single-cells of the fern Ceratopteris richardii


This work describes a rare high-throughput evaluation of gene expression changes induced by space flight in a single plant cell. The cell evaluated is the spore of the fern Ceratopteris richardii, which exhibits both perception and response to gravity. cDNA microarray and Q RT-PCR analysis of spores germinating in microgravity onboard NASA space shuttle flight STS-93 revealed changes in the mRNA expression of roughly 5% of genes analyzed. These gene expression changes were compared with gene expression changes that occur during gravity perception and response in animal cells and multicellular plants. Our data contribute to a better understanding of the impact of space flight conditions, including microgravity, on cellular growth and development, and provide insights into the adaptive strategies of individual cells in response to these conditions.

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Fig. 1
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1g :

1× Gravity earths gravitational force


Orbiter environmental simulator


Quantitative real-time reverse transcription PCR


Bayesian analysis of gene expression level software


Tentative unique gene


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We first thank Mr. William McLamb and Dr. David Chapman at Kennedy Space Center, whose experience and assistance were essential for the successful execution of the experiments. At the University of Texas we thank Mr. Thomas Bushart for expertise and assistance with Q RT-PCR, Dr. Jennifer Moon and Ms. Julia Kays for critical review of and helpful suggestions on the manuscript, and Dr. Vishy Iyer and these members of his laboratory for the use of his microarray equipment and for assistance and guidance in all aspects of microarray analysis: Dr. Jonghwan Kim, Mr. Jonathan Davies, Ms. Kerri Jeffers, and Ms. Xuan Lu, and Mr. Patrick Killion. This work was supported by NASA grants NAG2-1586 and NAG10-295 to S.J.R.

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Correspondence to Stanley J. Roux.

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Salmi, M.L., Roux, S.J. Gene expression changes induced by space flight in single-cells of the fern Ceratopteris richardii . Planta 229, 151–159 (2008).

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  • Space flight
  • Gravity
  • Gene expression
  • Microarray
  • Fern
  • Quantitative real-time RT-PCR