Spaceflight impacts xyloglucan oligosaccharide abundance in Arabidopsis thaliana root cell walls

Life Sci Space Res (Amst). 2024 May:41:110-118. doi: 10.1016/j.lssr.2024.02.004. Epub 2024 Feb 16.


Over the course of more than a decade, space biology investigations have consistently indicated that cell wall remodeling occurs in a variety of spaceflight-grown plants. Here, we describe a mass spectrometric method to study the fundamental composition of xyloglucan, the most abundant hemicellulose in dicot cell walls, in space-grown plants. Four representative Arabidopsis root samples, from a previously conducted spaceflight experiment - Advanced Plant EXperiment - 04 (APEX-04), were used to investigate changes in xyloglucan oligosaccharides abundances in spaceflight-grown plants compared to ground controls. In situ localized enzymatic digestions and surface sampling mass spectrometry analysis provided spatial resolution of the changes in xyloglucan oligosaccharides abundances. Overall, the results showed that oligosaccharide XXLG/XLXG and XXFG branching patterns were more abundant in the lateral roots of spaceflight-grown plants, while XXXG, XLFG, and XLFG/XLFG were more abundant in the lateral roots of ground control plants. In the primary roots, XXFG had a higher abundance in ground controls than in spaceflight plants. This methodology of analyzing the basic components of the cell wall in this paper highlights two important findings. First, that are differences in the composition of xyloglucan oligosaccharides in spaceflight root cell walls compared to ground controls and, second, most of these differences are observed in the lateral roots. Thus, the methodology described in this paper provides insights into spaceflight cell wall modifications for future investigations.

Keywords: Arabidopsis roots; Cell wall; MALDI FT-ICR; Spaceflight; Xyloglucan oligosaccharides.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis* / metabolism
  • Cell Wall* / metabolism
  • Glucans* / analysis
  • Glucans* / metabolism
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Oligosaccharides* / analysis
  • Oligosaccharides* / metabolism
  • Plant Roots* / metabolism
  • Space Flight*
  • Xylans* / analysis
  • Xylans* / metabolism


  • xyloglucan
  • Glucans
  • Xylans
  • Oligosaccharides