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Integrity of the DNA and Cellular Ultrastructure of Cryptoendolithic Fungi in Space or Mars Conditions: A 1.5-Year Study at the International Space Station.

Onofri, S. and Selbmann, L. and Pacelli, C. and de Vera, Jean Pierre Paul and Horneck, G. and Hallsworth, J.E. and Zucconi, L. (2018) Integrity of the DNA and Cellular Ultrastructure of Cryptoendolithic Fungi in Space or Mars Conditions: A 1.5-Year Study at the International Space Station. Life, 8 (2). Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI). DOI: 10.3390/life8020023 ISSN 2075-1729

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Official URL: http://www.mdpi.com/2075-1729/8/2/23

Abstract

The black fungi Cryomyces antarcticus and Cryomyces minteri are highly melanized and are resilient to cold, ultra-violet, ionizing radiation and other extreme conditions. These microorganisms were isolated from cryptoendolithic microbial communities in the McMurdo Dry Valleys (Antarctica) and studied in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), using the EXPOSE-E facility on the International Space Station (ISS). Previously, it was demonstrated that C. antarcticus and C. minteri survive the hostile conditions of space (vacuum, temperature fluctuations, and the full spectrum of extraterrestrial solar electromagnetic radiation), as well as Mars conditions that were simulated in space for a 1.5-year period. Here, we qualitatively and quantitatively characterize damage to DNA and cellular ultrastructure in desiccated cells of these two species, within the frame of the same experiment. The DNA and cells of C. antarcticus exhibited a higher resistance than those of C. minteri. This is presumably attributable to the thicker (melanized) cell wall of the former. Generally, DNA was readily detected (by PCR) regardless of exposure conditions or fungal species, but the C. minteri DNA had been more-extensively mutated. We discuss the implications for using DNA, when properly shielded, as a biosignature of recently extinct or extant life.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/120861/
Document Type:Article
Title:Integrity of the DNA and Cellular Ultrastructure of Cryptoendolithic Fungi in Space or Mars Conditions: A 1.5-Year Study at the International Space Station.
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Onofri, S.Department of Ecological and Biological Sciences (DEB), University of Tuscia, 01100 Viterbo, Italy.UNSPECIFIED
Selbmann, L.DECOS, Università degli Studi della Tuscia, Largo dell’Università, Viterbo, Italy;UNSPECIFIED
Pacelli, C.DECOS, Università degli Studi della Tuscia, Largo dell’Università, Viterbo, ItalyUNSPECIFIED
de Vera, Jean Pierre Pauljean-pierre.devera (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-9530-5821
Horneck, G.Gerda.Horneck (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Hallsworth, J.E.Institute for Global Food Security, School of Biological Sciences, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, UKUNSPECIFIED
Zucconi, L.DECOS, Università degli Studi della Tuscia, Largo dell’Università, Viterbo, Italy;UNSPECIFIED
Date:19 June 2018
Journal or Publication Title:Life
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:8
DOI :10.3390/life8020023
Publisher:Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)
ISSN:2075-1729
Status:Published
Keywords:cryptoendolithic black fungi; DNA and cellular damage; EXPOSE-E; LIFE experiment; space exposure and Mars conditions; ionizing- and ultra-violet radiation
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Science and Exploration
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Planetary Evolution and Life
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Leitungsbereich PF
Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Radiation Biology
Deposited By: de Vera, Dr. Jean Pierre Paul
Deposited On:10 Sep 2018 15:18
Last Modified:14 Dec 2019 04:22

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