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You are here: N-USOC / Research in Space / Experiments / Skip Navigation LinksCELL WALL / RESIST WALL
10/18/2012 by Carina Helle Berg
​The Cell Wall / Resist Wall experiment aimed to understand the molecular mechanisms plants use to grow in an upright position. The CW/RW Experiment was conducted on the International Space Station from March 2008 through May 2008.
Cell wall:
Cell walls of plants play a crucial role in forming supporting tissue in stems so they can grow in an upright position. Different types of cell wall components, such as cellulose, xyloglucan and lignin, are all involved in wall dynamics which give this type of support to plant tissue. It is expected that the metabolism and gene expression of a number of these substances is highly sensitive to gravity. And one wished therefore to examine the gene expression of these cell-wall related gene families in a micro-gravity environment. By using Arabidopsis Thaliana, the goal was to identify gene sets which play a role in gravity-dependent formation of supportive tissue in plants.

Resist wall:
Plants have two major responses to gravity; roots experience gravitropism (they grow downwards), and the shoot experiences resistance to the gravitational force by growing upwards. Little information about resistance to the gravitational force has been obtained compared to gravitropism.
The hypothesis is that the mutual dependency between microtubules, the plasma membrane and the cell wall in plants is responsible for gravity resistance. Arabidopsis mutants that are defective, in various ways, of forming these cellular components show distorted growth on earth. However, it was expected that such mutants are rescued and can grow and develop normally as wild types under microgravity in space. Therefore it was desirable to cultivate these mutant strains under microgravity and at 1 g conditions on orbit, for comparison with the wild type. When retrieving the plants to earth, changes in expression of genes involved in formation of microtubules, plasma membrane and cell walls could also be analyzed.
Experiment name: Cell Wall/Resist Wall
Facility: EMCS
Test subject: Arabidopsis thaliana
Experiment duration: 1 runs x 50 days
Growth substrate: Zeolite enriched with MS
Water source: EMCS water
Principle Investigator: Dr Takayuki Hoson
Payload Developer: Prototech AS
Launch vehicle: ULF1.1
Performance: 2008
Related articles:
Motoshi Kamada, Katsunori Omori, Kazuhiko Nishitani, Takayuki Hoson, Toru Shimazu and Noriaki Ishioka, JAXA Space Plant Research on the ISS with European Modular Cultivation System, Biology Sciences in Space, Vol. 21 No.3 (2007): 62-66
Takayuki Hosin, Kouichi Soga and Kazuyuki Wakabayashi, Role of the Cell Wall-Sustaining System in Gravity Resistance in Plants, Biological Sciences in Space, Vol.23 No.3, 131-136, 2009
Point of contact:
Principal Investigator representative: Toru Shimazu,