Task HHC, NASA Flight Experiment Research Contributing to Microbial Risk Modeling (Completed)
Last Published:  11/23/20 11:55:12 AM (Central)
Short Title: Microbial risk modeling
Responsible HRP Element: Space Human Factors and Habitability
Collaborating Org(s):
Space Human Factors Habitability (SHFH) Element
Funding Status: Completed - Task completed and produced a deliverable
Procurement Mechanism(s):
1. Comparison of whole genome microarray-mediated gene expression profiling of Salmonella typhimurium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Candida albicans, in response to spaceflight, to normal gravity controls and when the organisms are grown during suspension culture in modeled microgravity.

2. Determination of the effect of spaceflight on the virulence potential of the pathogenic microorganisms, S. typhimurium, P. aeruginosa, and C. albicans, immediately following their return from spaceflight.

3. Comparison of S. typhimurium cultures grown in nutrient limited media to those grown in nutrient rich media to determine the potential effects of nutritional status on changes in gene expression and virulence properties during spaceflight

Key findings reported are that spaceflight culture alters the Hfq regulon in bacterial pathogens. Altering the concentration of certain ionic salts in the growth media prevents the increased disease causing potential of Salmonella during spaceflight. Collectively, the results suggest that RNA binding regulatory proteins and their small RNA binding counterparts may be key to a conserved, common cellular spaceflight response mechanism in bacterial cells that can be manipulated by environmental salt/ion levels. The implications of the findings would affect NASA’s approach to infectious disease risk assessment, development of biological processing systems for exploration, and other mission-related functions.