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The Influence of Microgravity and Spaceflight on Columella Cell Ultrastructure in Starch-Deficient Mutants of Arabidopsis

Mary M. Guisinger and John Z. Kiss
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 86, No. 10 (Oct., 1999), pp. 1357-1366
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2656918
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Influence of Microgravity and Spaceflight on Columella Cell Ultrastructure in Starch-Deficient Mutants of Arabidopsis
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Abstract

The ultrastructure of root cap columella cells was studied by morphometric analysis in wild-type, a reduced-starch mutant, and a starchless mutant of Arabidopsis grown in microgravity (F-μg) and compared to ground 1g (G-1g) and flight 1g (F-1g) controls. Seedlings of the wild-type and reduced-starch mutant that developed during an experiment on the Space Shuttle (both the F-μg samples and the F-1g control) exhibited a decreased starch content in comparison to the G-1g control. These results suggest that some factor associated with spaceflight (and not microgravity per se) affects starch metabolism. Elevated levels of ethylene were found during the experiments on the Space Shuttle, and analysis of ground controls with added ethylene demonstrated that this gas was responsible for decreased starch levels in the columella cells. This is the first study to use an on board centrifuge as a control when quantifying starch in spaceflight-grown plants. Furthermore, our results show that ethylene levels must be carefully considered and controlled when designing experiments with plants for the International Space Station.

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