Plant Biology Program | Science Mission Directorate (2023)


Check out the recent findings and publications from participating NASA scientists, Principal Investigators, and contributors from universities and labs around the world:

Luigi Gennaro Izzo, Leone Ermes Romano, Lucius Wilhelminus Franciscus Muthert, Maurizio Iovane, Fiore Capozzi, Aránzazu Manzano, Malgorzata Ciska, Raúl Herranz, F. Javier Medina, John Z. Kiss, Jack J.W.A. van Loon, Giovanna Aronne, Interaction of gravitropism and phototropism in roots of Brassica oleracea, Environmental and Experimental Botany, Volume 193, 2022,

Aronne, G., Muthert, L. W. F., Izzo, L. G., Romano, L. E., Iovane, M., Capozzi, F., . . . Medina, F. J. (2022). A novel device to study altered gravity and light interactions in seedling tropisms.Life Sciences in Space Research, 32, 8-16.

Gilbert, R., Tanenbaum, N., & Bhattacharya, S. (2022). Asparagine biosynthesis as a mechanism of increased host lethality induced by Serratia marcescens in simulated microgravity environments.Heliyon, e09379.

Izzo, L. G., Romano, L. E., Muthert, L. W. F., Iovane, M., Capozzi, F., Manzano, A., . . . Kiss, J. Z. (2022). Interaction of gravitropism and phototropism in roots of Brassica oleracea.Environmental and Experimental Botany, 193, 104700.

Paul, A.-L., Elardo, S. M., & Ferl, R. (2022). Plants grown in Apollo lunar regolith present stress-associated transcriptomes that inform prospects for lunar exploration.Communications Biology, 5(1), 1-9.

Shymanovich, T., & Kiss, J. Z. (2022). Conducting Plant Experiments in Space and on the Moon.Plant Gravitropism, 165-198.

Schuerger A.C., Wheeler R.M., Levine H.G., Paul AL., Ferl R.J. (2022) Vegetable Health Challenges in Extraterrestrial Production. In: Elmer W.H., McGrath M., McGovern R.J. (eds) Handbook of Vegetable and Herb Diseases. Handbook of Plant Disease Management. Springer, Cham.

Zhang Y, Richards JT, Feiveson AH, Richards SE, Neelam S, Dreschel TW, Plante I, Hada M, Wu H, Massa GD, Douglas GL, Levine HG. Response of Arabidopsis thaliana and Mizuna Mustard Seeds to Simulated Space Radiation Exposures. Life. 2022; 12(2):144.

Poulet L, Engeling K, Hatch T, Stahl-Rommel S, Velez Justiniano Y-A, Castro-Wallace S, Bunchek J, Monje O, Hummerick M, Khodadad CLM, Spencer LE, Pechous J, Johnson CM, Fritsche R, Massa GD, Romeyn MW, O’Rourke AE and Wheeler RW (2022) Large-Scale Crop Production for the Moon and Mars: Current Gaps and Future Perspectives. Front. Astron. Space Sci. 8:733944. doi: 10.3389/fspas.2021.733944

Khodadad CLM, Hummerick ME, Spencer LE, Dixit AR, Richards JT, Romeyn MW, Smith TM, Wheeler RM and Massa GD (2020) Microbiological and Nutritional Analysis of Lettuce Crops Grown on the International Space Station. Front. Plant Sci. 11:199. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2020.00199

Paul, AL., Elardo, S.M. & Ferl, R. Plants grown in Apollo lunar regolith present stress-associated transcriptomes that inform prospects for lunar exploration. Commun Biol 5, 382 (2022).

Microbiological and Nutritional Analysis of Lettuce Crops Grown on the International Space Station. Christina L. M. Khodadad, Mary E. Hummerick, LaShelle E. Spencer, Anirudha R. Dixit, Jeffrey T. Richards, Matthew W. Romeyn, Trent M. Smith, Raymond M. Wheeler, and Gioia D. Massa

Frontiers in Plant Science.March 6, 2020.

Brassinosteroids Inhibit Autotropic Root Straightening by Modifying Filamentous-Actin Organization and Dynamics. Dr. Elison Blancaflor, Louise de Bang, Ana Paez-Garcia, Ashley E. Cannon, Sabrina Chin, Jaydeep Kolape, Fuqi Liao, J. Alan Sparks, Qingzhen Jiang

Frontiers in Plant Science, February 4, 2020 issue (Front. Plant Sci. 11:5.

NDVI imaging within space exploration plant growth modules – A case study from EDEN ISS Antarctica. Dr. Robert Ferl, Rachel Tucker, Jordan A. Callaham, Conrad Zeidler, Anna-Lisa Paul

Life Sciences in Space Research, Volume 26, August 2020, pages 1-9;

Growth and development of ecotypes ofArabidopsis thaliana: Preliminary experiments to prepare for a Moon lander mission.Shymanovich T, Kiss JZ. Gravit Space Res. 2020 May 20;8(1):1. (Kiss, 80NSSC17K0546)

This investigation found there is one single genotype, Columbia (Col-0), that had the best seed germination, growth, and development at the widest temperature range (11–25 °C) that can be used to support a lunar lander experiment on a CubeSat.

Plant responses to gravity. Vandenbrink JP, Kiss JZ. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2019 Apr 2. [Epub ahead of print] Review. (Kiss, 80NSSC17K0546)

This review article details how plants perceive gravity and respond biochemically in response to gravity as well as synthesize the recent literature on this important topic in plant biology.

Skewing in Arabidopsis roots involves disparate environmental signaling pathways.
Schultz, E. R., Zupanska, A. K., Sng, N. J., Paul, A. L., Ferl, R. J.
BMC Plant Biol. 2017 Feb 1;17(1):31.
PI:R.J. Ferl; A.L. Paul
Journal Impact Factor:3.631
Funding:"This work was supported by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space Life and Physical Sciences grants NNX12AN69G and NNX07AH27G to A-L. Paul and R.J. Ferl, and NNX15AI10H [NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium] to E.R. Schultz."

Mechanical stimulation modifies canopy architecture and improves volume utilization efficiency in bell pepper: Implications for bioregenerative life-support and vertical farming.
Graham, T., Wheeler, R.
Open Agriculture. 2017 Feb;2(1):42.
PI:R.M. Wheeler
Funding:"Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) NASA Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship Program for financial support of Thomas Graham." The PI reports funding under the Dwarf Fruit Production Study.

An autonomous lab on a chip for space flight calibration of gravity-induced transcellular calcium polarization in single-cell fern spores.
Park J., Salmi M. L., Wan Salim W. W., Rademacher A., Wickizer B., Schooley A., Benton J., Cantero A., Argote P. F., Ren M., Zhang M., Porterfield D. M., Ricco A. J., Roux S. J., Rickus J. L.
Lab Chip. 2017 Feb 16. [Epub ahead of print]
PIs:D.M. Porterfield, S.J. Roux, J. Rickus
Journal Impact Factor:2.628
Funding:"This work was funded by National Aeronautics and Space Administration, grant numbers NNX15AB86A, NNX11AF48A, and NNX15AB85A."

Cellular responses and gene expression profile changes due to bleomycin-induced DNA damage in human fibroblasts in space.
Lu T., Zhang Y., Kidane Y., Feiveson A., Stodieck L., Karouia F., Ramesh G., Rohde L., Wu H.
PLoS One. 2017 Mar 1;12(3):e0170358.
PI:H. Wu
Journal Impact Factor:3.057
Funding:"This work was supported by the NASA Fundamental Space Biology Program."

Lab-on-a-chip mRNA purification and reverse transcription via a solid-phase gene extraction technique.
Nestorova G. G., Hasenstein K., Nguyen N., DeCoster M. A., Crews N. D.
Lab Chip. 2017 Feb 24. [Epub ahead of print]
Journal Impact Factor:5.586
Funding:"This work was supported by NASA EPSCOR #NNH13ZHA001C and NSF CBET-1151148."

Dissecting low atmospheric pressure stress: Transcriptome responses to the components of hypobaria in Arabidopsis.
Zhou M., Callaham J. B., Reyes M., Stasiak M., Riva A., Zupanska A. K., Dixon M. A., Paul A.-L., Ferl R. J.
Front Plant Sci. 2017 Mar 24;8(528).
PIs:R. J. Ferl, A.-L. Paul
Journal Impact Factor:3.948
Funding:"This work was funded by grants NNX13AM46G and NNA04CC6 to R.J. Ferl and A. L. Paul from NASA Space Life and Physical Sciences managed through Kennedy Space Center."

TNO1, a TGN-localized SNARE-interacting protein, modulates root skewing in Arabidopsis thaliana.
Roy, R., Bassham, D. C.
BMC Plant Biol. 2017 Apr 11;17(1):73.
PI:D. Bassham
Journal Impact Factor:3.631
Funding:"This work was supported by a grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Grant number NNX09AK78G) to DCB."

Transcriptome and proteome responses in RNAlater preserved tissue of Arabidopsis thaliana.
Kruse C. P. S., Basu P., Luesse D. R., Wyatt S. E.
PLoS One. 2017 Apr 19;12(4):e0175943.
PI:S.E. Wyatt
Journal Impact Factor:3.057
Funding:"This research was partially funded by NASA (#NNX13AM48G to SEW and DRL) with supplemental funding provided by NASA GeneLab."

Interplay of space radiation and microgravity in DNA damage and DNA damage response.
Moreno-Villanueva, M., Wong, M., Lu, T., Zhang, Y., Wu, H.
npj Microgravity. 2017 May 10;3(1):14. Review.
PIs:Y. Zhang, H. Wu
Funding:"This work was supported in part by grants from the NASA Space Biology Program and the NASA Human Research Program, and by a German Fellowship Program (MMV)."

Transcriptomics, NF-κB pathway, and their potential spaceflight-related health consequences.
Zhang Y., Moreno-Villanueva M., Krieger S., Ramesh G. T., Neelam S., Wu H.
Int J Mol Sci. 2017 May 31;18(6):E1166. Review.
PIs:H. Wu; Y. Zhang; S. Neelam, NASA Postdoctoral Program
Journal Impact Factor:3.257
Funding:"This work was supported in part by grants from the NASA Space Biology Program and the NASA Human Research Program (HW and YZ), and by the DFG German Research Foundation (MMV). Ye Zhang and Srujana Neelam were supported by the NASA Space Life and Physical Sciences Program and the NASA Postdoctoral Program, respectively."

A celebration of Fred David Sack.
Bergmann, D., Clare, D., Samuels, L., Kiss, J. Z.
Plant Physiol. 2017 Jun;174(2):470-2.
Journal Impact Factor:6.280
Funding:No funding cited.

Experimental evolution of Bacillus subtilis.
Zeigler D. R., Nicholson W. L.
Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jun 19. [Epub ahead of print] Review.
PI:W.L. Nicholson
Journal Impact Factor:5.395
Funding:"This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1349029 to D.R.Z. W.L.N. acknowledges past and ongoing support for this work from NASA, USDA, and the University of Florida."

Deletion analysis of AGD1 reveals domains crucial for its plasma membrane recruitment and function in root hair polarity.
Yoo C. M., Naramoto S., Sparks J. A., Khan B. R., Nakashima J., Fukuda H., Blancaflor E. B.
J Cell Sci. 2017 Jun 23. [Epub ahead of print]
PI:E.B. Blancaflor
Journal Impact Factor:4.431
Funding:"This work was supported by the Noble Research Institute and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA Grant NNX12AM94G) to E.B.B., and the Tomizawa Jun-ichi and Keiko Fund to S.N."

Data for characterization of SALK_084889, a T-DNA insertion line of Arabidopsis thaliana.
Zhou M., Paul A. L., Ferl R. J.
Data Brief. 2017 Aug;13:253-8. Epub 2017 May 31.
PIs:R.J. Ferl, A-L. Paul
Journal Impact Factor:1.43
Funding:"This work was funded by NASA Space Life and Physical Sciences Grants NNX13AM46G and NNA04CC61G awarded to RJF and ALP managed through Kennedy Space Center."

Simulated space radiation sensitizes bone but not muscle to the catabolic effects of mechanical unloading.
Krause A. R., Speacht T. L., Zhang Y., Lang C. H., Donahue H. J.
PLoS One. 2017 Aug 3;12(8):e0182403.
PI:H.J. Donahue
Journal Impact Factor:2.806
Funding:"This work was supported by National Space Biomedical Research Institute Grant MA02802, and NIH Grant R01Ar068132-18."

Tip growth.
Gilroy S., Swanson S. J.
In: eLS. Chichester, U.K: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2017. p. 1-4.
PI:S. Gilroy
Funding:"Tip growth research in the Gilroy lab is funded by NSF (MCB-1329723, IOS-1557899) and NASA NNX14AT25G."

Cultivation in space flight produces minimal alterations in the susceptibility of Bacillus subtilis cells to 72 different antibiotics and growth-inhibiting compounds.
Morrison M. D., Fajardo-Cavazos P., Nicholson W. L.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Aug 18. [Epub ahead of print]
PI:W.L. Nicholson
Journal Impact Factor:3.807
Funding:"This work was supported by NASA Research Opportunities in Space Biology Grant NNX14AT38G to W.L.N. and P.F.-C. This work was supported by NASA Research
409 Opportunities in Space Biology Grant NNX14AT38G to W.L.N. and P.F.-C."

Comparative transcriptomics indicate changes in cell wall organization and stress response in seedlings during spaceflight.
Johnson C. M., Subramanian A., Pattathil S., Correll M. J., Kiss J. Z.
Am J Bot. 2017 Aug 21. [Epub ahead of print]
PI:J.Z. Kiss
Note:STS-131 results.GeneLab:From the Analysis of Microarrays: "BRIC-16-Cyt data were deposited in the NASA GeneLab under accession number GLDS-121 ("
Journal Impact Factor:3.05
Funding:"Financial support for BRIC-16-Cyt (J. Z. Kiss, Principal Investigator) was provided by NASA grant (NNX10AF44G). The authors thank Michael G. Hahn at CCRC, UGA for the glycome profiling platform. The generation of the CCRC series of plant cell wall glycan-directed monoclonal antibodies used in this work was supported by the NSF Plant Genome Program (DBI-0421683 and IOS-0923922)."

Vacuolar trafficking and biogenesis: A maturation in the field.
Brillada C., Rojas-Pierce M..
Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2017 Dec;40:77-81. Epub 2017 Aug 31.
PI:M. Rojas-Pierce
Journal Impact Factor:7.357
Funding:"Research in the Rojas-Pierce laboratory is funded by NASA Space Life and Physical Sciences Division (NNX13AM49G to MRP)."

Molecular mechanisms of root gravitropism.
Su S. H., Gibbs N. M., Jancewicz A. L., Masson P. H.
Curr Biol. 2017 Sep 11;27(17):R964-r72. Review.
PI:P.H. Masson
Journal Impact Factor:8.852
Funding:"This review was made possible by grants from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (#NNX14AT23G), the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agriculture and Life Sciences HATCH program (#WIS10338), a Bridge Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and by a Fall Competition Award from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, to P.M. A.J. was supported by a MBTG Training Grant and by an AOF Award."

Growth in spaceflight hardware results in alterations to the transcriptome and proteome.
Basu P., Kruse C. P. S., Luesse D. R., Wyatt S. E.
Life Sci Space Res. 2017 Sep 21. [Article in Press]
PI:S. E. Wyatt
JournalImpact Factor:1.97
Funding:"This work was partially funded by NASA [grant number NNX13AM48G to S.E.W. and D.R.L.] and a NASA GeneLab supplement to SEW. The authors thank Dr. Sophie Alvarez and the Proteomics & Mass Spectrometry Facility at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center for their contribution. Their work was supported by the National Science Foundation [grant number DBI-0922879] for acquisition of the LTQ-Velos Pro Orbitrap LC-MS/MS."

Apoptosis and expression of apoptosis-related genes in mouse intestinal tissue after whole-body proton exposure.
Purgason A., Zhang Y., Hamilton S. R., Gridley D. S., Sodipe A., Jejelowo O., Ramesh G. T., Moreno-Villanueva M., Wu H.
Mol Cell Biochem. 2017 Nov 2. [Epub ahead of print]
PI:H. Wu
Journal Impact Factor:2.669
Funding:"This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Low Dose Radiation Program and the NASA Human Research Program. A.P. was supported in part by the NASA Graduate Student Research Program. M.M.V was supported by German Research Foundation (DFG)."

A novel phototropic response to red light is revealed in microgravity.
Millar, K. D., Kumar, P., Correll, M. J., Mullen, J. L., Hangarter, R. P., Edelmann, R. E., & Kiss, J. Z. (2010).New Phytol(Vol. 186, pp. 648-656). England.

Changes in gravity rapidly alter the magnitude and direction of a cellular calcium current.Salmi, M. L., ul Haque, A., Bushart, T. J., Stout, S. C., Roux, S. J., & Porterfield, D. M. (2011).Planta, 233(5), 911-920. DOI:10.1007/s00425-010-1343-2

An endogenous growth pattern of roots is revealed in seedlings grown in microgravity.
Millar, K. D., Johnson, C. M., Edelmann, R. E., & Kiss, J. Z. (2011).Astrobiology, 11(8), 787-797. DOI:10.1089/ast.2011.0699

The performance of KSC Fixation Tubes with RNALater for orbital experiments: A case study in ISS operations for molecular biology.
Ferl, R. J., Zupanska, A., Spinale, A., Reed, D., Manning-Roach, S., Guerra, G., . . . Paul, A.-L. (2011).Advances in Space Research, 48(1), 199-206.

Phototropism of Arabidopsis thaliana in microgravity and fractional gravity on the International Space Station.
Kiss, J. Z., Millar, K. D., & Edelmann, R. E. (2012).Planta, 236(2), 635-645. DOI:10.1007/s00425-012-1633-y

Regulation of plant gravity sensing and signaling by the actin cytoskeleton.
Blancaflor, E. B. (2013).Am J Bot, 100(1), 143-152. DOI:10.3732/ajb.1200283

Transcriptome analyses of Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings grown in space: implications for gravity-responsive genes.
Correll, M. J., Pyle, T. P., Millar, K. D., Sun, Y., Yao, J., Edelmann, R. E., & Kiss, J. Z. (2013).Planta, 238(3), 519-533. DOI:10.1007/s00425-013-1909

Spaceflight promotes biofilm formation by Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Kim, W., Tengra, F. K., Young, Z., Shong, J., Marchand, N., Chan, H. K., . . . Collins, C. H. (2013).PLoS One, 8(4), e62437. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0062437

Spaceflight engages heat shock protein and other molecular chaperone genes in tissue culture cells of Arabidopsis thaliana.
Zupanska, A. K., Denison, F. C., Ferl, R. J., & Paul, A. L. (2013).Am J Bot, 100(1), 235-248. DOI:10.3732/ajb.1200343

Organ-specific remodeling of the Arabidopsis transcriptome in response to spaceflight.
Paul, A. L., Zupanska, A. K., Schultz, E. R., & Ferl, R. J. (2013).BMC Plant Biol, 13, 112. DOI:10.1186/1471-2229-13-112

Inter-regulation of the unfolded protein response and auxin signaling.
Chen, Y., Aung, K., Rolcik, J., Walicki, K., Friml, J., & Brandizzi, F. (2014).Plant J, 77(1), 97-107. DOI:10.1111/tpj.12373

Spaceflight Induces Specific Alterations in the Proteomes of Arabidopsis.
Ferl, R. J., Koh, J., Denison, F., & Paul, A. L. (2014).Astrobiology. DOI:10.1089/ast.2014.1210

Proteomic approaches and their application to plant gravitropism.
Basu, P., Luesse, D. R., & Wyatt, S. E. (2015).Methods Mol Biol, 1309, 119-132. DOI:10.1007/978-1-4939-2697-8_10

Use of high gradient magnetic fields to evaluate gravity perception and response mechanisms in plants and algae.
Hasenstein, K. H. (2015).Methods Mol Biol, 1309, 227-237. DOI:10.1007/978-1-4939-2697-8_17

Morphometric analyses of petioles of seedlings grown in a spaceflight experiment.Johnson, C. M., Subramanian, A., Edelmann, R. E., & Kiss, J. Z. (2015).J Plant Res. DOI:10.1007/s10265-015-0749-0

The effect of spaceflight on the gravity-sensing auxin gradient of roots: GFP reporter gene microscopy on orbit.
Ferl, R. J., & Paul, A.-L. (2016).npj Microgravity, 2, 15023.

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