Simulated microgravity, Mars gravity, and 2g hypergravity affect cell cycle regulation, ribosome biogenesis, and epigenetics in Arabidopsis cell cultures. Academic Article uri icon


  • Gravity is the only component of Earth environment that remained constant throughout the entire process of biological evolution. However, it is still unclear how gravity affects plant growth and development. In this study, an in vitro cell culture of Arabidopsis thaliana was exposed to different altered gravity conditions, namely simulated reduced gravity (simulated microgravity, simulated Mars gravity) and hypergravity (2g), to study changes in cell proliferation, cell growth, and epigenetics. The effects after 3, 14, and 24-hours of exposure were evaluated. The most relevant alterations were found in the 24-hour treatment, being more significant for simulated reduced gravity than hypergravity. Cell proliferation and growth were uncoupled under simulated reduced gravity, similarly, as found in meristematic cells from seedlings grown in real or simulated microgravity. The distribution of cell cycle phases was changed, as well as the levels and gene transcription of the tested cell cycle regulators. Ribosome biogenesis was decreased, according to levels and gene transcription of nucleolar proteins and the number of inactive nucleoli. Furthermore, we found alterations in the epigenetic modifications of chromatin. These results show that altered gravity effects include a serious disturbance of cell proliferation and growth, which are cellular functions essential for normal plant development.

published proceedings

  • Sci Rep

altmetric score

  • 34.33

author list (cited authors)

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

citation count

  • 47

complete list of authors

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

publication date

  • April 2018