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Functional Activity of Plasmid DNA after Entry into the Atmosphere of Earth Investigated by a New Biomarker Stability Assay for Ballistic Spaceflight Experiments

Thiel, Cora S. and Tauber, Svantje and Schütte, Andreas and Schmitz, Burkhard and Nuesse, Harald and Moeller, Ralf and Ullrich, Oliver (2014) Functional Activity of Plasmid DNA after Entry into the Atmosphere of Earth Investigated by a New Biomarker Stability Assay for Ballistic Spaceflight Experiments. PLoS One, 9 (11), e112979. Public Library of Science (PLoS). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112979 ISSN 1932-6203

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0112979

Abstract

Sounding rockets represent an excellent platform for testing the influence of space conditions during the passage of Earth's atmosphere and re-entry on biological, physical and chemical experiments for astrobiological purposes. We designed a robust functionality biomarker assay to analyze the biological effects of suborbital spaceflights prevailing during ballistic rocket flights. During the TEXUS-49 rocket mission in March 2011, artificial plasmid DNA carrying a fluorescent marker (enhanced green fluorescent protein: EGFP) and an antibiotic resistance cassette (kanamycin/neomycin) was attached on different positions of rocket exterior; (i) circular every 90 degree on the outer surface concentrical of the payload, (ii) in the grooves of screw heads located in between the surface application sites, and (iii) on the surface of the bottom side of the payload. Temperature measurements showed two major peaks at 118 and 130°C during the 780 seconds lasting flight on the inside of the recovery module, while outer gas temperatures of more than 1000°C were estimated on the sample application locations. Directly after retrieval and return transport of the payload, the plasmid DNA samples were recovered. Subsequent analyses showed that DNA could be recovered from all application sites with a maximum of 53% in the grooves of the screw heads. We could further show that up to 35% of DNA retained its full biological function, i.e., mediating antibiotic resistance in bacteria and fluorescent marker expression in eukariotic cells. These experiments show that our plasmid DNA biomarker assay is suitable to characterize the environmental conditions affecting DNA during an atmospheric transit and the re-entry and constitute the first report of the stability of DNA during hypervelocity atmospheric transit indicating that sounding rocket flights can be used to model the high-speed atmospheric entry of organics-laden artificial meteorites.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/93997/
Document Type:Article
Title:Functional Activity of Plasmid DNA after Entry into the Atmosphere of Earth Investigated by a New Biomarker Stability Assay for Ballistic Spaceflight Experiments
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Thiel, Cora S.Institute of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland; cora.thiel (at) uzh.chUNSPECIFIED
Tauber, SvantjeInstitute of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland and Department of Machine Design, Engineering Design and Product Development, Institute of Mechanical Engineering, Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Schütte, AndreasAirbus DS, Airbus-Allee 1, Bremen, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Schmitz, BurkhardAirbus DS, Airbus-Allee 1, Bremen, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Nuesse, HaraldInstitute of Medical Physics and Biophysics, University of Muenster, Münster, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Moeller, RalfGerman Aerospace Center (DLR e.V.), Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Radiation Biology Department, Research Group Astrobiology, Linder Hoehe, Cologne (Köln), GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Ullrich, OliverInstitute of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland and Department of Machine Design, Engineering Design and Product Development, Institute of Mechanical Engineering, Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Date:2014
Journal or Publication Title:PLoS One
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:9
DOI :10.1371/journal.pone.0112979
Page Range:e112979
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
Status:Published
Keywords:biomarker assay, ballistic rocket flights, plasmid DNA
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:13 Jan 2015 14:30
Last Modified:08 Mar 2018 18:49

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