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Global Transcriptome Profiling to Identify Cellular Stress Mechanisms Responsible for Spaceflight-Induced Antibiotic Resistance (NNX14AT38G)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Bacillus subtilis Species: Bacteria Strain: WN1532

Responses of various microorganisms to the spaceflight environment have been examined by numerous studies conducted either in space or on the ground in clinostats. The results clearly show that several microbial behaviors differ in space, but not in a consistent way. The underlying mechanism(s) involved are not explainable by a single model. Exposure to the spaceflight environment (e.g., microgravity, radiation) alters a microbial cell's immediate surroundings, lowering convective mass and heat transfer or reducing mechanical shear forces. Changes in such fundamental physical forces affect the rates at which gases, nutrients, signaling molecules, and waste products are exchanged between microbes and their surroundings. Microbes perceive these alterations as environmental stress (i.e., the "spaceflight syndrome") and mount a complex set of stress responses. One consequence of the spaceflight stress response is alteration in their susceptibility to antibiotics. This could be due to mechanisms such as: production of biofilms, alteration of cell surfaces, up-regulation of drug efflux systems, or an increased rate of mutation in genes encoding drug targets. All of these mechanisms have been well documented as outputs of global microbial stress responses. Of particular interest is oxidative stress, which has been shown both to trigger maladaptive responses in higher organisms including astronauts, and to increase bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Central Hypothesis: Microorganisms subjected to the integrated spaceflight environment invoke a spectrum of stress responses, some leading to alterations in their antibiotic susceptibility. The underlying mechanisms can be identified using transcriptome profiling of model organisms.

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Cultivation in space flight produces minimal alterations in the susceptibility of Bacillus subtilis cells to 72 different antibiotics and growth-inhibiting compounds. [DOI]

Alterations in the Spectrum of Spontaneous Rifampicin-Resistance Mutations in the Bacillus subtilis rpoB Gene after Cultivation in the Human Spaceflight Environment [DOI]

Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. No data sets are available for this experiment. Please Contact LSDA if you know of available data for this investigation.

Colony Forming Units

Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
SpaceX_6 04/14/2015 05/21/2015 37 days

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Kennedy Space Center (KSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Kennedy Space Center LSDA Level 3
Project Manager: Martha Del Alto
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
2014 Space Biology NNH14Z