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Phenotypic Changes Exhibited by E. coli Cultured in Space

Zea, Luis and Larsen, Michael and Estante, Frederico and Qvortrup, Klaus and Moeller, Ralf and Dias de Oliveira, Sílvia and Stodieck, Louis and Klaus, David (2017) Phenotypic Changes Exhibited by E. coli Cultured in Space. Frontiers in Microbiology, 8. Frontiers Media S.A.. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.01598 ISSN 1664-302X

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2017.01598

Abstract

Bacteria will accompany humans in our exploration of space, making it of importance to study their adaptation to the microgravity environment. To investigate potential phenotypic changes for bacteria grown in space, Escherichia coli was cultured onboard the International Space Station with matched controls on Earth. Samples were challenged with different concentrations of gentamicin sulfate to study the role of drug concentration on the dependent variables in the space environment. Analyses included assessments of final cell count, cell size, cell envelope thickness, cell ultrastructure, and culture morphology. A 13-fold increase in final cell count was observed in space with respect to the ground controls and the space flight cells were able to grow in the presence of normally inhibitory levels of gentamicin sulfate. Contrast light microscopy and focused ion beam/scanning electron microscopy showed that, on average, cells in space were 37% of the volume of their matched controls, which may alter the rate of molecule–cell interactions in a diffusion-limited mass transport regime as is expected to occur in microgravity. TEM imagery showed an increase in cell envelope thickness of between 25 and 43% in space with respect to the Earth control group. Outer membrane vesicles were observed on the spaceflight samples, but not on the Earth cultures. While E. coli suspension cultures on Earth were homogenously distributed throughout the liquid medium, in space they tended to form a cluster, leaving the surrounding medium visibly clear of cells. This cell aggregation behavior may be associated with enhanced biofilm formation observed in other spaceflight experiments.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/114225/
Document Type:Article
Title:Phenotypic Changes Exhibited by E. coli Cultured in Space
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Zea, LuisBioServe Space Technologies, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, United StatesUNSPECIFIED
Larsen, MichaelDepartment of Biomedical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, DenmarkUNSPECIFIED
Estante, FredericoDepartment of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, United StatesUNSPECIFIED
Qvortrup, KlausDepartment of Biomedical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, DenmarkUNSPECIFIED
Moeller, RalfSpace Microbiology Research Group, Department of Radiation Biology, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center, Cologne, Germanyhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-2371-0676
Dias de Oliveira, SílviaImmunology and Microbiology Laboratory, The Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, BrazilUNSPECIFIED
Stodieck, LouisBioServe Space Technologies, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, United StatesUNSPECIFIED
Klaus, DavidDepartment of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, United StatesUNSPECIFIED
Date:2017
Journal or Publication Title:Frontiers in Microbiology
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:8
DOI :10.3389/fmicb.2017.01598
Editors:
EditorsEmail
Dunfield, PeterUniversity of Calgary, Canada
Publisher:Frontiers Media S.A.
ISSN:1664-302X
Status:Published
Keywords:microgravity, bacterial growth, cell size, cell envelope, vesicle, aggregation, bioastronautics
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R FR - Forschung unter Weltraumbedingungen
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Strahlenbiologie
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Radiation Biology
Deposited By: Kopp, Kerstin
Deposited On:25 Sep 2017 13:58
Last Modified:25 Sep 2017 13:58

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