Cellular response to microgravity is a basic issue in space biological sciences as well as space physiology and medicine. It is crucial to elucidate the mechano-biological coupling mechanisms of various biological organisms, since, from the principle of adaptability, all species evolved on the earth must possess the structure and function that adapts their living environment. As a basic element of an organism, a cell usually undergoes mechanical and chemical remodeling to sense, transmit, transduce, and respond to the alteration of gravitational signals. In the past decades, new computational platforms and experimental methods/techniques/devices are developed to mimic the biological effects of microgravity environment from the viewpoint of biomechanical approaches. Mechanobiology of plant gravisensing in the responses of statolith movements along the gravity vector and the relevant signal transduction and molecular regulatory mechanisms are investigated at gene, transcription, and protein levels. Mechanotransduction of bone or immune cell responses and stem cell development and tissue histogenesis are elucidated under microgravity. In this review, several important issues are briefly discussed. Future issues on gravisensing and mechanotransducing mechanisms are also proposed for ground-based studies as well as space missions.
This work was supported by National Key Basic Research Foundation of China grant 2011CB710900. The authors are grateful to their contributions of project co-PIs from Profs./Drs. Weiming Cai, Bin Chen, Li Chen, Yubo Fan, Dacheng He, Jie Le, Min Liu, Xiangdong Luo, Dachuan Yin, and Yong Zhao. We also thank to Dr. Debin Mao and Mr. Chengzhi Wang for their technical assistances.
[Long, Mian; Wang, Yuren; Lu, Dongyuan] Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Mech, Key Lab Micrograv, Natl Micrograv Lab, Beijing 100190, Peoples R China; [Long, Mian; Lu, Dongyuan] Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Mech, Ctr Biomech & Bioengn, Beijing 100190, Peoples R China; [Long, Mian; Lu, Dongyuan] Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Mech, Beijing Key Lab Engn Construct & Mechanobiol, Beijing 100190, Peoples R China; [Zheng, Huiqiong] Chinese Acad Sci, Shanghai Inst Biol Sci, Inst Plant Physiol & Ecol, Lab Photosynth & Environm Biol, Beijing 100190, Peoples R China; [Shang, Peng] Northwestern Polytech Univ, Sch Life Sci, Xian 710072, Peoples R China; [Duan, Enkui] Chinese Acad Sci, State Key Lab Stem Cell & Reprod Biol, Inst Zool, Beijing 100190, Peoples R China