[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Our primary objective was to evaluate gene expression changes in Arabidopsis thaliana in response to parabolic flight as part of a comprehensive approach to the molecular biology of spaceflight-related adaptations. In addition, we wished to establish parabolic flight as a tractable operations platform for molecular biology studies. In a succession of experiments on NASA's KC-135 and C-9 parabolic aircraft, Arabidopsis plants were presented with replicated exposure to parabolic flight. Transcriptome profiling revealed that parabolic flight caused changes in gene expression patterns that stood the statistical tests of replication on three different flight days. The earliest response, after 20 parabolas, was characterized by a prominence of genes associated with signal transduction. After 40 parabolas, this prominence was largely replaced by genes associated with biotic and abiotic stimuli and stress. Among these responses, three metabolic processes stand out in particular: the induction of auxin metabolism and signaling, the differential expression of genes associated with calcium-mediated signaling, and the repression of genes associated with disease resistance and cell wall biochemistry. Many, but not all, of these responses are known to be involved in gravity sensing in plants. Changes in auxin-related gene expression were also recorded by reporter genes tuned to auxin signal pathways. These data demonstrate that the parabolic flight environment is appropriate for molecular biology research involving the transition to microgravity, in that with replication, proper controls, and analyses, gene expression changes can be observed in the time frames of typical parabolic flight experiments.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oscillations in cellular divalent cation concentrations are key events that can trigger signal transduction cascades. Common cellular divalent cations, such as calcium and magnesium, interact with 14-3-3 proteins. The metal ion interaction causes a conformational change in the 14-3-3 proteins, which is manifested as an increase in hydrophobicity. In this study, the effect of divalent cations on the interaction between 14-3-3 proteins and target peptides was investigated using surface plasmon resonance and isothermal titration calorimetry. The binding between ten recombinant Arabidopsis 14-3-3 isoforms and two synthetic target peptides was observed in the presence of various physiologically relevant concentrations of calcium or magnesium, from 1 microM to 1 mM or from 1 microM to 5 mM, respectively. The synthetic target peptides were based on sequences from Arabidopsis nitrate reductase (NR2) and the plasma membrane proton pump (AHA2) representing fundamentally different target classes. Isoforms representing every branch of the Arabidopsis 14-3-3 phylogenetic tree were tested. The general result for all cases is that an increased concentration of divalent cations in solution causes an increase in the concentration of 14-3-3 protein interacting with the respective phosphopeptide.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As a step in developing an understanding of plant adaptation to low atmospheric pressures, we have identified genes central to the initial response of Arabidopsis to hypobaria. Exposure of plants to an atmosphere of 10 kPa compared with the sea-level pressure of 101 kPa resulted in the significant differential expression of more than 200 genes between the two treatments. Less than one-half of the genes induced by hypobaria are similarly affected by hypoxia, suggesting that response to hypobaria is unique and is more complex than an adaptation to the reduced partial pressure of oxygen inherent to hypobaric environments. In addition, the suites of genes induced by hypobaria confirm that water movement is a paramount issue at low atmospheric pressures, because many of gene products intersect abscisic acid-related, drought-induced pathways. A motivational constituent of these experiments is the need to address the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's plans to include plants as integral components of advanced life support systems. The design of bioregenerative life support systems seeks to maximize productivity within structures engineered to minimize mass and resource consumption. Currently, there are severe limitations to producing Earth-orbital, lunar, or Martian plant growth facilities that contain Earth-normal atmospheric pressures within light, transparent structures. However, some engineering limitations can be offset by growing plants in reduced atmospheric pressures. Characterization of the hypobaric response can therefore provide data to guide systems engineering development for bioregenerative life support, as well as lead to fundamental insights into aspects of desiccation metabolism and the means by which plants monitor water relations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple members of the 14-3-3 protein family have been found in all eukaryotes so far investigated, yet they are apparently absent from prokaryotes. The major native forms of 14-3-3s are homo- and hetero-dimers, the biological functions of which are to interact physically with specific client proteins and thereby effect a change in the client. As a result, 14-3-3s are involved in a vast array of processes such as the response to stress, cell-cycle control, and apoptosis, serving as adapters, activators, and repressors. There are currently 133 full-length sequences available in GenBank for this highly conserved protein family. A phylogenetic tree based on the conserved middle core region of the protein sequences shows that, in plants, the 14-3-3 family can be divided into two clearly defined groups. The core region encodes an amphipathic groove that binds the multitude of client proteins that have conserved 14-3-3-recognition sequences. The amino and carboxyl termini of 14-3-3 proteins are much more divergent than the core region and may interact with isoform-specific client proteins and/or confer specialized subcellular and tissue localization.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transgenic arabidopsis plants containing the alcohol dehydrogenase (Adh) gene promoter fused to the green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter gene were developed as biological sensors for monitoring physiological responses to unique environments. Plants were monitored in vivo during exposure to hypoxia, high salt, cold, and abcissic acid in experiments designed to characterize the utility and responses of the Adh/GFP biosensors. Plants in the presence of environmental stimuli that induced the Adh promoter responded by expressing GFP, which in turn generated a detectable fluorescent signal. The GFP signal degraded when the inducing stimulus was removed. Digital imaging of the Adh/GFP plants exposed to each of the exogenous stresses demonstrated that the stress-induced gene expression could be followed in real time. The experimental results established the feasibility of using a digital monitoring system for collecting gene expression data in real time from Transgenic Arabidopsis Gene Expression System (TAGES) biosensor plants during space exploration experiments.
Life support & biosphere science: international journal of earth space 02/2002; 8(2):83-91.