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Determination of Roles of Microgravity and Ionizing Radiation on the Reactivation of Epstein-Barr Virus (ARC00XX165)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Cell and molecular biology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Epstein-Barr Species: Virus

This project will study the effects of simulated microgravity and ionizing radiation on the complex process of virus reactivation that is intimately associated with the way cells respond to external stress. Specifically, this proposal aims to increase understanding of mechanisms of Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) reactivation and has the potential to discover new therapeutic targets for diseases caused in the general population by EBV. The reactivation of all herpesviruses is known to involve 2 components or stages: the initial initiating molecular events that cause reactivation of the latent genomes to progress to the production of reactivating virus, and then the propagation of these reactivating viruses to produce clinical disease. The second part of this process involves overcoming components of the acquired immune response if clinical disease is to result. In order to understand reactivation from a mechanistic point of view, these two processes need to be examined independently. The proposed studies will focus on the initial events that microgravity and ionizing radiation initiate in latent cells to induce the first stage of (molecular) reactivation.

EBV reactivation may not be completely homologous to varicella-zoster virus (VZV) and cytomegalovirus (CMV) reactivation. By focusing on EBV, which has a well-established cell culture system of latency, the mechanistic effects of microgravity and ionizing radiation in inducing EBV reactivation can be studied. This will provide critical and important information regarding the effects of these inducers on EBV reactivation in humans. After these molecular events are established in EBV, possible parallel mechanisms in VZV and CMV can be investigated in future studies.

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Mehta SK, Bloom DC, Plante I, Stowe R, Feiveson AH, Renner A, Dhummakupt A, Markan D, Zhang Y, Wu H, Scoles B, Cohen JI, Crucian B, Pierson DL. Reactivation of latent Epstein-Barr virus: A comparison after exposure to gamma, proton, carbon, and iron radiation. Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Sep 28;19(10):2961. [DOI]

Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Ground 05/01/2009 In Progress

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Ames Research Center (ARC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Ames Research Center LSDA Level 3
Project Manager: Sylvain Costes
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
2012 Space Biology NNH12Z