Embedding Arabidopsis Plant Cell Suspensions in Low-Melting Agarose Facilitates Altered Gravity Studies

K.Y. Kamal, J.J.W.A. van Loon, F.J. Medina, R. Herranz

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Gravity plays a role in modulating plant growth and development and its alteration induces changes in these processes. Microgravity research has recently been extended to the use of in vitro plant cell cultures which are considered as an ideal model system to study cell proliferation and growth. In general, among the ground-based facilities available for microgravity simulation, the 2D pipette clinostat had been previously considered a suitable facility to be used for unicellular biological models although studies using single plant cell cultures raised some concerns. The incompatibility comes from the standard requirement of shaking a suspension culture for assuring its viability and active proliferation status in the control samples. Moreover, a related issue applies to the use of the random positioning machine (RPM) for cell suspension experiments. Here, we demonstrate an alternative culture method based on the immobilization of the culture before the altered gravity treatment occurs, such that it behaves as a solid object. Our immobilization procedure preserved plant cell culture viability without compromising basic cell properties as viability, morphology, cell cycle phases distribution, or chromatin organization, when compared with a standard cell suspension under shaking as a control. This approach should allow the space biology community to improve the quantity and quality of plant cell results in future simulated microgravity experiments or spaceflight opportunities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-119
Number of pages5
JournalMicrogravity Science and Technology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


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