Navigation Links
Microscopic 'astronauts' to go back in orbit
Date:3/10/2008

When space shuttle Endeavor blasts off on March 11, some tiny astronauts will piggyback onboard an experimental payload from Arizona State Universitys Biodesign Institute.

The new experiment, called Microbial Drug Resistance Virulence is part of the STS-123 space shuttle Endeavor mission. It will continue the research studies of Cheryl Nickerson, PhD, project leader and scientist in the institutes Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology. Nickerson has been at the forefront on studying the risks of germs associated with spaceflight to the health and well being of the crew.

Wherever people go, germs will follow, said Nickerson, who is also an associate professor at ASUs School of Life Sciences. Last fall, she completed a multi-institutional study that showed for the first time that microbes could be affected by spaceflight, making them more infectious pathogens. The results were from a payload flown onboard space shuttle Atlantis in 2006.

Spaceflight not only altered bacterial gene expression but also increased the ability of these organisms to cause disease, or virulence, and did so in novel ways. Compared to identical bacteria that remained on earth, the space-traveling Salmonella, a leading cause of food-borne illness, had changed expression of 167 genes. In addition, bacteria that were flown in space were almost three times as likely to cause disease when compared with control bacteria grown on the ground.

Now, her research team, which includes James Wilson, PhD, Laura Quick, Richard Davis, Emily Richter, Aurelie Crabbe and Shameema Sarker, will have an extraordinarily rare opportunity to fly a repeat experiment of their NASA payload to confirm their earlier results.

We are very fortunate to get a follow up flight opportunity, because in spaceflight, you only get one shot for everything to go just right, said Nickerson. We saw unique bacterial responses in flight and these responses are giving us new information about how Salmonella causes disease. NASA is giving us the opportunity to independently replicate the virulence studies of Salmonella typhimurium from our last shuttle experiment and to do a follow-up experiment to test our hypothesis about new ways this bacteria causes disease in this unique environment.

In the new experimental wrinkle, the team will test a hypothesis that may lead to decreasing or preventing the risk for infectious diseases to astronauts. The experiment will determine if the modulation of different ion (mineral) concentrations may be used as a novel way to counteract or block the spaceflight-associated increase in the disease-causing potential that was seen in Salmonella.

In addition, the project will support three other independent investigators to determine the effect of spaceflight on the gene expression and virulence potential of other model microorganisms, including: Dave Niesel, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Streptococcus pneumoniae; Mike McGinnis, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston Saccharomyces cerevisiae; and Barry Pyle, Montana State University, Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

These microorganisms were chosen because they are well studied organisms that have been, or have the potential to be, isolated from the space shuttle, Mir space station, International Space Station, or its crew, or have been shown to exhibit altered virulence in response to spaceflight. These organisms are all important human pathogens that cause a significant amount of human morbidity and mortality on Earth as well.

We now have a wide variety of supportive evidence that the unique low fluid shear culture environment the bacteria encounter in space is relevant to what pathogens encounter in our body, including during Salmonella infection in the gut, and there may be a common regulatory theme governing the microbial responses, said Nickerson. But to prove that, we need to fly these common bugs together with the same hardware on the same flight so that everyone is tested under the same conditions.

The investigators believe that information gained from these studies will prove beneficial in assessing microbiological risks and options for reducing those risks during crew missions. When taken together, these studies will ultimately provide significant insights into the molecular basis of microbial virulence. Once specific molecular targets are identified, there is the potential for vaccine development and other novel strategies for prevention and treatment of disease caused by these microbes both on the ground and during spaceflight.

We are learning new things about how Salmonella is causing disease, said Nickerson. There is compelling evidence that the unique environment of spaceflight provides important insight into a variety of fundamental human health issues with tremendous potential for the commercial development of novel enabling technologies to enhance human health here on Earth," said Nickerson.


'/>"/>

Contact: Joe Caspermeyer
joseph.caspermeyer@asu.edu
480-727-0369
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Exercise May Help Female Astronauts Stay Strong
2. NASA Astronauts, Exercise Exhibit To Be At Houston Marathon Events
3. Wrigleys Orbit(R), Extra(R) and Eclipse(R) Sugar-Free Chewing Gums Awarded American Dental Associations Seal of Acceptance
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/16/2017)... ... January 16, 2017 , ... Houston ... Center, is currently offering complimentary consultations and financing for orthodontics for a limited ... bite irregularities and learn about their orthodontic options. Walk-in, late-evening, Saturday, and same-day ...
(Date:1/16/2017)... MO (PRWEB) , ... January 16, 2017 , ... St. Louisans are well-aware of the ... , This year’s influenza shot seems to be having no effect on keeping ... at least half of the people around are coughing, sneezing, or sniffling ...
(Date:1/16/2017)... ... , ... San Francisco dentist, Dr. Ben Amini , the founder at ... is capable of taking digital impressions of teeth and gums. Conventional bite impressions have ... restorations , in terms of speed, efficiency and patient comfort. Increasingly, digital impressions are ...
(Date:1/15/2017)... ... 15, 2017 , ... Whole Health Supply, LLC is announcing the release of an updated version ... for purchase. , The 2017 edition has wide jaws that will accommodate nails up ... as well as diabetics. This handle is reinforced for extra strength when pressing down on ...
(Date:1/15/2017)... ... January 15, 2017 , ... The Gravity Vault Indoor Rock Climbing Gym is ... wraps up on the 14,000+ square foot climbing gym, the owners anticipate to open ... in New Jersey and two in New York. With this being its first location ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/14/2017)... , Jan. 14, 2017  Johnson & Weaver, LLP ... of purchasers of Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: ... through October 31, 2016 (the "Class Period"). Zimmer ... and markets orthopaedic reconstructive products, such as knee and hip ... ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: ... ) announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug ... new drug application (NDA) for investigational baricitinib, a once-daily ... rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The NDA for baricitinib was submitted ... FDA extended the action date to allow time to ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... New York , January 13, 2017 ... rising prevalence of AIDS will collectively contribute to the demand ... expected to reach a value of US$ 551.0 Mn by ... will remain the most lucrative markets for western blotting, ... lead the market globally. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: