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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 964203, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/964203
Research Article

Gravity Affects the Closure of the Traps in Dionaea muscipula

1DISPAA, University of Florence, Viale delle idee 30, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
2IZMB, University of Bonn, Kirschallee 1, 53115 Bonn, Germany

Received 12 May 2014; Accepted 27 June 2014; Published 15 July 2014

Academic Editor: Monica Monici

Copyright © 2014 Camilla Pandolfi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula Ellis) is a carnivorous plant known for its ability to capture insects thanks to the fast snapping of its traps. This fast movement has been long studied and it is triggered by the mechanical stimulation of hairs, located in the middle of the leaves. Here we present detailed experiments on the effect of microgravity on trap closure recorded for the first time during a parabolic flight campaign. Our results suggest that gravity has an impact on trap responsiveness and on the kinetics of trap closure. The possible role of the alterations of membrane permeability induced by microgravity on trap movement is discussed. Finally we show how the Venus flytrap could be an easy and effective model plant to perform studies on ion channels and aquaporin activities, as well as on electrical activity in vivo on board of parabolic flights and large diameter centrifuges.