Adaptation response of Arabidopsis thaliana to random positioning

Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings were exposed on a Random Positioning Machine (RPM) under light conditions for 16 h and the samples were analysed using microarray techniques as part of a preparation for a space experiment on the International Space Station (ISS). The results demonstrated a moderate to low regulation of 55 genes (<0.2% of the analysed genes). Genes encoding proteins associated with the chaperone system (e.g. heat shock proteins, HSPs) and enzymes in the flavonoid biosynthesis were induced. Most of the repressed genes were associated with light and sugar responses. Significant up-regulation of selected HSP genes was found by quantitative Real-Time PCR in 1 week old plants after the RPM exposure both in light and darkness. Higher quantity of DPBA (diphenylboric acid 2-amino-ethyl ester) staining was observed in the whole root and in the root elongation zone of the seedlings exposed on the RPM by use of fluorescent microscopy, indicating higher flavonoid content. The regulated genes and an increase of flavonoids are related to several stresses, but increased occurrence of HSPs and flavonoids are also representative for normal growth (e.g. gravitropism). The response could be a direct stress response or an integrated response of the two signal pathways of light and gravity resulting in an overall light response.