GNN - Genome News Network  
  Home | About | Topics
‘Dicty’ blasts into space
In the Literature.

Here, GNN posts the abstracts of four papers about the effects of non-gravity space orbit on Dictyostelium and other selected organisms related to the article First of six chromosomes sequenced in Dictyostelium discoideum.


Differentiation of Dictyostelium discoideum vegetative cells into spores during Earth orbit in space.

We reported previously that emerged amoebae of Dictyostelium (D.) discoideum grew, aggregated and differentiated to fruiting bodies with normal morphology in space. Here, we investigated the effects of space radiation and/or microgravity on the number, viability, kinetics of germination, growth rate and mutation frequency of spores formed in space in a radiation-sensitive strain, gamma s13, and the parental strain, NC4. In gamma s13, there were hardly spores in the fruiting bodies formed in space. In NC4, we found a decrease in the number of spores, a delay in germination of the spores and delayed start of cell growth of the spores formed in space when compared to the ground control. However, the mutation frequency of the NC4 spores formed in space was similar to that of the ground control. We conclude that the depression of spore formation might be induced by microgravity and/or space radiation through the depression of some stage(s) of DNA repair during cell differentiation in the slime mold.

Adv Space Res 2001;28(4):549-53.

Genetic changes induced in human cells in Space Shuttle experiment (STS-95).

Results of past space experiments suggest that the biological effect of space radiation could be enhanced under microgravity. To assess the radiation risk for humans during long-term spaceflight, it is very important to clarify whether human cells exhibit a synergistic effect of radiation and microgravity. HYPOTHESIS: If significant synergism occurs in human cells, genetic changes induced during spaceflight may be detected by using human tumor HCT-116 cells which are hypermutable due to a defect in the DNA mismatch repair system. METHODS: Cultured HCT-116 cells were loaded on the Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-95) and grown during the 9-d mission. After landing, many single-cell clones were isolated, microsatellite repetitive sequences in each clone were amplified by PCR, and mutations in the microsatellite loci were detected as changes in the length of PCR fragments. Mutation frequencies of ouabain-resistant phenotype were also analyzed. RESULTS: The frequencies of microsatellite mutations as well as ouabain-resistant mutations in the flight sample were similar to those of the ground control samples. Some cells were treated in space with bleomycin which mimics the action of radiation, but the frequencies of microsatellite mutations were not significantly different between the flight and the ground control samples. CONCLUSION: Under the present flight conditions, neither space radiation (about 20 mSv during this mission) nor microgravity caused excess mutations in human cells.

Aviat Space Environ Med 2001 Sep;72(9):794-8.

The effects of microgravity on induced mutation in Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

We examined whether microgravity influences the induced-mutation frequencies through in vivo experiments during space flight aboard the space shuttle Discovery (STS-91). We prepared dried samples of repair-deficient strains and parental strains of Escherichia (E.) coli and Saccharomyces (S.) cerevisiae given DNA damage treatment. After culture in space, we measured the induced-mutation frequencies and SOS-responses under microgravity. The experimental findings indicate that almost the same induced-mutation frequencies and SOS-responses of space samples were observed in both strains compared with the ground control samples. It is suggested that microgravity might not influence induced-mutation frequencies and SOS-responses at the stages of DNA replication and/or DNA repair. In addition, we developed a new experimental apparatus for space experiments to culture and freeze stocks of E. coli and S. cerevisiae cells.

Adv Space Res 2001;28(4):555-61.

Mutation frequency of Dictyostelium discoideum spores exposed to the space environment.

Two strains of cellular slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum, a radiosensitive mutant and the parental wild-type strain, were used to investigate the effects of cosmic radiation on viability and mutation frequency at the spore stage for about 9 days in Space Shuttle of NASA. We measured little effect of space environment on viability and cell growth in the both strains as compared to ground controls. The mutation frequency of the flown spores were similar to that of ground control. These results suggest that there could be no effect of cosmic radiation, containing high linear energy transfer radiation at about 0.9 mSv/day as detected by real-time radiation monitoring device on the induction of mutation at the spore stage.

Biol Sci Space 1997 Jun;11(2):81-6.

. . .

Back to GNN Home Page