*Mechanosensitive Channels & Plant Gravity Perception

How plants respond to gravity is a fundamental biological question with important implications for space flight. We are conducting ground-based research designed to lead to space flight experiments. Mechanosensitive (MS) ion channels have been proposed to play a role in the perception of gravity in plants for many years—a hypothesis that is supported by several lines of evidence, but one that has not yet been systematically tested by molecular genetics. We aim to determine the role played by MS ion channels in mediating gravity signal transduction, their putative roles in adaptation to microgravity, and the molecular mechanisms by which the model MS ion channel MSL10 activates stress-response pathways in plant cells. Stay tuned for the results of our experiments!