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EXPERIMENT INFORMATION

Telomeres and the One Year Mission - CIPHER (TELOMERES2)
Research Area:
Cell and molecular biology
Radiation biology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

Description
OBJECTIVES:
An astronaut’s individual genetic susceptibilities, the unique lifestyle stresses they encounter (e.g., nutritional, psychological, physical), and particular environmental exposures (e.g., microgravity, galactic cosmic rays) are all integrated and captured as changes in telomere length. Thus, the rate at which telomeres shorten provides a general measure of health that can be linked to aging as well as to risk of developing degenerative age-related pathologies, ranging from reduced immune function and dementia, to cardiovascular disease and cancer. Functional telomeres are also essential for maintaining genomic integrity and stability, as they protect chromosomal termini from inappropriate degradation and prevent natural DNA ends from being recognized as broken DNA, resulting in inappropriate triggering of DNA damage responses (DDRs).
The goal of this study is to establish temporal profiles of human telomere length dynamics (changes over time) and DNA damage responses of importance for the maintenance of human health and performance during long-duration deep space missions. This will be achieved by examining the potential of telomere length as a biomarker for individual astronaut’s health and identifying trends in adaptations to human health and performance during long-duration low-Earth orbit. The researchers will evaluate telomere length and DDRs as pioneered and validated in the NASA Twins Study (One Year Mission; Expedition 43), and the Telomeres 1 investigation, which involved 10 unrelated astronauts and age/sex matched ground controls. Telomeres 2 will evaluate telomere length dynamics and DDRs in crewmembers participating in various duration missions aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the Complement of Integrated Protocols for Human Exploration Research (CIPHER), and in the concurrent ground analog component (prolonged isolation).
The specific aims of this study include:
(1) Establish temporal profiles of human telomere length dynamics in individual crewmembers participating in CIPHER onboard the ISS and participants in the concurrent ground analog component (prolonged isolation missions). As part of this specific aim, the researchers will evaluate telomere length dynamics and shifts in individual short/long telomere length distributions in bulk and stem/early progenitor cell populations. Telomerase activity will also be assessed.
(2) Establish temporal profiles of DNA damage responses for individual crewmembers participating in CIPHER onboard the ISS and participants in the concurrent ground analog component. As part of this specific aim, the researchers will evaluate genomic and telomeric DDRs, chromosomal damage and instability, telomere-specific oxidative damage, and alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) activation.


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Keywords
Chromosome aberrations
Chromosome breakage
Chromosome inversion
Linear energy transfer (LET)
Telomerase
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Data Information
Data Availability
Archiving in progress. Data is not yet available for this experiment.

Parameters
Chromosomal inversions
Gamma H2AX
Guanine-rich lagging strand telomeres
Hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs)
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha (HIF-1A) protein level/expression
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Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Proposal Date
1/31/2019
Proposal Source
2017-2018 HERO 80JSC017N0001