Relevance of the unfolded protein response to spaceflight-induced transcriptional reprogramming in Arabidopsis
E. Angelos et al. “Relevance of the unfolded protein response to spaceflight-induced transcriptional reprogramming in Arabidopsis” Astrobiology 21, 3 (2021) [DOI: 10.1089/ast.2020.2313]
Plants are primary producers of food and oxygen on Earth and will likewise be indispensable to the establishment of large-scale sustainable ecosystems and human survival in space. To contribute to the understanding of how plants respond to spaceflight stress, we examined the significance of the unfolded protein response (UPR), a conserved signaling cascade that responds to a number of unfavorable environmental stresses, in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. To do so, we performed a large-scale comparative transcriptome profiling in wild type and various UPR-defective mutants during the SpaceX-CRS12 mission to the International Space Station. We established that orbital culture substantially alters the expression of hundreds of stress-related genes compared with ground control conditions. Although expression of those genes varied in the UPR mutants on the ground, it was largely similar across the genotypes in the spaceflight condition. Our results have yielded new information on how plants respond to growth in orbit and support the hypothesis that spaceflight induces the activation of signaling pathways that compensate for the loss of UPR regulators in the control of downstream transcriptional regulatory networks.