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The International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory is dedicated to studying the effects of space on life and physical systems, and to developing new science and technologies for space exploration. A key aspect of achieving these goals is to operate the ISS National Lab more like an Earth-based laboratory, conducting complex end-to-end experimentation, not limited to simple microgravity exposure. Towards that end NASA developed a novel suite of molecular biology laboratory tools, reagents, and methods, named WetLab-2, uniquely designed to operate in microgravity, and to process biological samples for real-time gene expression analysis on-orbit. This includes a novel fluidic RNA Sample Preparation Module and fluid transfer devices, all-in-one lyophilized PCR assays, centrifuge, and a real-time PCR thermal cycler. Here we describe the results from the WetLab-2 validation experiments conducted in microgravity during ISS increment 47/SPX-8. Specifically, quantitative PCR was performed on a concentration series of DNA calibration standards, and Reverse Transcriptase-quantitative PCR was conducted on RNA extracted and purified on-orbit from frozen Escherichia coli and mouse liver tissue. Cycle threshold (Ct) values and PCR efficiencies obtained on-orbit from DNA standards were similar to Earth (1 g) controls. Also, on-orbit multiplex analysis of gene expression from bacterial cells and mammalian tissue RNA samples was successfully conducted in about 3 h, with data transmitted within 2 h of experiment completion. Thermal cycling in microgravity resulted in the trapping of gas bubbles inside septa cap assay tubes, causing small but measurable increases in Ct curve noise and variability. Bubble formation was successfully suppressed in a rapid follow-up on-orbit experiment using standard caps to pressurize PCR tubes and reduce gas release during heating cycles. The WetLab-2 facility now provides a novel operational on-orbit research capability for molecular biology and demonstrates the feasibility of more complex wet bench experiments in the ISS National Lab environment.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PloS one
Progress in aeronautics and spaceflight technologies requires in parallel further research on how microgravity may affect human tissue. To date, little is known about the effects of microgravity on hu...
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Nervous system infections caused by tick-borne spirochetes of the BORRELIA BURGDORFERI GROUP. The disease may affect elements of the central or peripheral nervous system in isolation or in combination. Common clinical manifestations include a lymphocytic meningitis, cranial neuropathy (most often a facial neuropathy), POLYRADICULOPATHY, and a mild loss of memory and other cognitive functions. Less often more extensive inflammation involving the central nervous system (encephalomyelitis) may occur. In the peripheral nervous system, B. burgdorferi infection is associated with mononeuritis multiplex and polyradiculoneuritis. (From J Neurol Sci 1998 Jan 8;153(2):182-91)
Locations, on the GENOME, of GENES or other genetic elements that encode or control the expression of a quantitative trait (QUANTITATIVE TRAIT, HERITABLE).
The separation of individuals or groups resulting in the lack of or minimizing of social contact and/or communication. This separation may be accomplished by physical separation, by social barriers and by psychological mechanisms. In the latter, there may be interaction but no real communication.
A disorder characterized by multiple, wide spread cutaneous cysts that often become inflamed and rupture. It is caused by the same mutations in the gene coding for KRT-17 that are causative mutations for Pachyonychia congenita, Type 2. Natal teeth involvement is sometimes associated with steatocystoma multiplex.
Disease or trauma involving a single peripheral nerve in isolation, or out of proportion to evidence of diffuse peripheral nerve dysfunction. Mononeuropathy multiplex refers to a condition characterized by multiple isolated nerve injuries. Mononeuropathies may result from a wide variety of causes, including ISCHEMIA; traumatic injury; compression; CONNECTIVE TISSUE DISEASES; CUMULATIVE TRAUMA DISORDERS; and other conditions.
Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)
PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) uses the ability of DNA polymerase (enzymes that create DNA molecules by assembling nucleotides, the building blocks of DNA. These enzymes are essential to DNA replication and usually work in pairs to create two ident...
The process of gene expression is used by eukaryotes, prokaryotes, and viruses to generate the macromolecular machinery for life. Steps in the gene expression process may be modulated, including the transcription, RNA splicing, translation, and post-tran...
Biological therapy involves the use of living organisms, substances derived from living organisms, or laboratory-produced versions of such substances to treat disease. Some biological therapies for cancer use vaccines or bacteria to stimulate the body&rs...