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CsPINs Experiment Begins

Last Updated: April 27, 2011

* All times are Japan Standard Time (JST)

Dynamism of Auxin Efflux Facilitators, CsPINs, Responsible for Gravity-regulated Growth and Development in Cucumber (CsPINs)*, which uses the Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF) on board Kibo, began.

*Principal Investigator (PI): Hideyuki Takahashi, Professor, Tohoku University

"CsPINs" is a protein group that controls activity and distribution of Auxin, a plant hormone, which has an essential role in coordination of growth and behavioral processes in the plant's life cycle. This experiment focuses on "CsPIN1", which is assumed to be involved in gravimorphogenesis in plant, and "CsPIN5", which is assumed to be involved in hydrotropism, and aims at understanding their activities.

Samples for the experiment (dried cucumber seeds) were delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the space shuttle Discovery (STS-133 mission). The CsPINs experiment began when ISS astronauts provided water to the culture unit and inserted the culture unit to the CBEF at 2:01 a.m. on April 26.

Cucurbitaceae plants, including cucumber, develop a peg soon after the root-shoot. The CsPIN1 is known to be involved in this peg formation. To examine the CsPIN1, the cucumber seeds will be germinated and samples during and after their peg formation process will be collected. Also it has been indicated that the CsPIN5 plays a role in hydrotropism in plant roots. To examine the CsPIN5, moisture gradient is provided to the culture beds and samples during and after roots bending process will be collected. Those oran formation process will also be photographed.

The experiment will be performed for 4 days until April 29, 2011. The collected samples will be returned to the ground by return flight of the space shuttle Endeavour (STS-134 mission).
If these protein activities are understood, the findings will be applied to the root growth orientation control or plant organ formation control. The control techniques will eventually be applied to agriculture technology and or future space plant factories.

Special Message from Principal Investigator (PI)

Samples of the Hydro Tropi experiment, which was performed aboard Kibo in October 2010, were returned to the ground by the space shuttle the day before the Tohoku and Kanto earthquake. And aboard Kibo, the CsPINs experiment began while we, Japanese, are facing the unprecedented national tragedy. We are determined to have new findings from the experiment so that our project can give hopes to people in Japan.

*All times are Japan Standard Time (JST)

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