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Role of DNA repair pathways in the recovery of a dried, radioresistant cyanobacterium exposed to high-LET radiation: implications for the habitability of Mars

Mosca, C. and Napoli, A. and Fagliarone, C. and Fujimori, A. and Moeller, R. and Billi, D. (2022) Role of DNA repair pathways in the recovery of a dried, radioresistant cyanobacterium exposed to high-LET radiation: implications for the habitability of Mars. International Journal of Astrobiology, pp. 380-391. Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/S1473550422000131. ISSN 1473-5504.

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Official URL: http://www.doi.org/10.1017/S1473550422000131


If life ever appeared on Mars and if it did refuge into sub-superficial environments when surface conditions turned too hostile, then it should have been periodically revived from the frozen, dormant state in order to repair the accumulated damage and reset the survival clock to zero for the next dormant phase. Thus, unravelling how long Earth dormant microorganisms can cope with high-LET radiation mimicking long-term irradiation is fundamental to get insights into the long-term resilience of a dormant microbial life in the Martian subsurface over geological timescales that might have taken advantage of periodically clement conditions that allowed the repair of the accumulated DNA damage. The exposure of dried cells of the radioresistant cyanobacterium Chroococcidiopsis sp. CCMEE 029 to 2 kGy of heavy-ion radiation (Fe ions) did not significantly reduce its survival, although DNA damage was accumulated. Upon rehydration, DNA lesions were repaired as suggested by the over-expression of genes involved in the repair of double strand breaks (DSBs), oxidized bases and apurinic-apyrimidinic sites. Indeed, the monitoring of repair genes upon rehydration suggested a key role of the RecF homologous recombination in repairing DSBs. While the fact that out of the eight genes of the BER system, only one was up-regulated, suggested the absence of DNA lesions generally induced by UV radiation. In conclusion, the non-significantly reduced survival of dried Chroococcidiopsis exposed to 2 kGy of Fe-ion radiation further expanded our appreciation of the resilience of a putative dormant life in the Martian subsurface. Moreover, it is also relevant when searching life on Europa and Enceladus where the radiation environment might critically affect the long-term survival of dormant, frozen life forms.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/187622/
Document Type:Article
Title:Role of DNA repair pathways in the recovery of a dried, radioresistant cyanobacterium exposed to high-LET radiation: implications for the habitability of Mars
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Mosca, C.department of biology, laboratory of astrobiology and molecular biology of cyanobacteria from extreme environments, university of rome tor vergata, rome, italy.UNSPECIFIED
Napoli, A.Department of Biology, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, ItalyUNSPECIFIED
Fagliarone, C.Department of Biology, Laboratory of Astrobiology and Molecular Biology of Cyanobacteria from Extreme Environments, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.UNSPECIFIED
Fujimori, A.National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology (NIRS/QST), Department of Basic Medical Sciences for Radiation Damages, Chiba, Japan.UNSPECIFIED
Moeller, R.Radiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany; ralf.moeller (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-2371-0676
Billi, D.Department of Biology, University of Rome "Tor Vergata," Rome, ItalyUNSPECIFIED
Date:21 April 2022
Journal or Publication Title:International Journal of Astrobiology
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 380-391
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
Keywords:DNA damage repair; Mars habitability; high LET radiation; Chroococcidiopsis
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 - Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Project ISS LIFE 2.0
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine
Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Radiation Biology
Deposited By: Schrage, Larissa
Deposited On:15 Aug 2022 12:32
Last Modified:13 Oct 2022 13:01

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