Cell cycle acceleration and changes in essential nuclear functions induced by simulated microgravity in a synchronized Arabidopsis cell culture. Academic Article uri icon


  • Zero gravity is an environmental challenge unknown to organisms throughout evolution on Earth. Nevertheless, plants are sensitive to altered gravity, as exemplified by changes in meristematic cell proliferation and growth. We found that synchronized Arabidopsis-cultured cells exposed to simulated microgravity showed a shortened cell cycle, caused by a shorter G2/M phase and a slightly longer G1 phase. The analysis of selected marker genes and proteins by quantitative polymerase chain reaction and flow cytometry in synchronic G1 and G2 subpopulations indicated changes in gene expression of core cell cycle regulators and chromatin-modifying factors, confirming that microgravity induced misregulation of G2/M and G1/S checkpoints and chromatin remodelling. Changes in chromatin-based regulation included higher DNA methylation and lower histone acetylation, increased chromatin condensation, and overall depletion of nuclear transcription. Estimation of ribosome biogenesis rate using nucleolar parameters and selected nucleolar genes and proteins indicated reduced nucleolar activity under simulated microgravity, especially at G2/M. These results expand our knowledge of how meristematic cells are affected by real and simulated microgravity. Counteracting this cellular stress is necessary for plant culture in space exploration.

published proceedings

  • Plant Cell Environ

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Kamal, K. Y., Herranz, R., van Loon, J., & Medina, F. J.

citation count

  • 23

complete list of authors

  • Kamal, Khaled Y||Herranz, Raúl||van Loon, Jack JWA||Medina, F Javier

publication date

  • February 2019