Drop Tower - induzierte Phosphorylierungsänderungen in der Schotenkresse (DROPS)

research area: biology

experiment title:

Drop Tower - induzierte Phosphorylierungsänderungen in der Schotenkresse (Arabidopsis thaliana)

experiment acronym: DROPS

funding agency: DLR

grant number: 50WB1530

performing organization:

Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Institut für Biologie und Biotechnologie der Pflanzen /

DLR - Institut für Luft- und Raumfahrtmedizin, Biomedizinische Forschung, Gravitationsbiologie, Köln

prime investigator:

Dr. Maik Böhmer /

PD Dr. Ruth Hemmersbach, Dr. Sonja Brungs

experiment objective


In the long term, it is aimed to modify plants by breeding or genetic engineering in a way that they can germinate, grow and reproduce under space conditions as optimal as possible, because they play an important role for the nutrition and the psychological well-being of humans and in the frame of bioregenerative life support systems. For space exploration and colonization, plants will be of high importance for oxygen production, CO2 recycling and as a primary or secondary food source. 

By this project we want to further contribute to the understanding of the mechanisms of gravity perception, signaling and adaptation in plants. It is already known that posttranslational modifications (phosphorylation etc.) of proteins are essential for a fast initial response to changes of the environment, which in turn activate or deactivate proteins before the de novo protein biosynthesis starts. Thus, we postulate that early phosphorylation events are fundamental processes initiating very fast responses towards changes of the gravitational vector. Understanding such kinds of changes in posttranslational modifications can elucidate the two most important enigmas in plant gravitational biology: The identification of the earliest gravitational vector perception network and perhaps the receptor itself, as well as responses and putative adaptations of plants subjected to altered gravity.

Our integrative approach to combine Arabidopsis transcriptome, proteome and metabolome analyses in responses to short and prolonged reduced gravity treatments [(9 s (drop tower) - 22 s (parabolic flight) – 5 min (sounding rocket) – up to 24 h (clinostat)] will essentially contribute to the early steps of gravity signaling in plants. Our experiments will be complemented by runs of samples under hypergravity.

experiment campaigns

experiment year: 2017
number of drops: 16