A novel understanding of how the cardiovascular system is impacted by space radiation utilizing existing GeneLab datasets

network of key genes for analysis

International Journal of Molecular Sciences – GeneLab Database Analyses Suggest Long-Term Impact of Space Radiation on the Cardiovascular System by the Activation of FYN Through Reactive Oxygen Species

Dr. Afshin Beheshti lead a team of researchers including Drs. Sylvain Costes and Jack Miller of NASA Ames Research Center (ARC), Dr. Peter Grabham of Columbia University, and Dr. J. Tyson McDonald of Hampton University to demonstrate the utility of NASA’s GeneLab database. Using an unbiased systems biology approach, they interrogated three GeneLab datasets which encompassed two space radiation simulated ground studies and one in vitro spaceflight study focusing on the cardiovascular system to identify key genes/pathways driving the effects of space radiation on cardiovascular health. The following novel findings emerged from this study: 1) Space radiation causes downregulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) pathways in the cardiovascular system; 2) Astronauts and samples on the ISS are likely experiencing more proton radiation than any other type of space radiation; and 3) From the results of the study, they hypothesize that a negative feedback loop is responsible for the observed molecular changes such that the oxidative stress caused by space radiation upregulates a key driving gene called FYN, which in turn reduces ROS levels by mediating ROS-specific pathways thereby preventing cell death of cardiovascular-related cells and thus protecting the cardiovascular system. This is the first time that GeneLab datasets were utilized to provide a potentially novel mechanism for space radiation induced cardiovascular risk linking radiation ground studies to spaceflight.

Comparison of Bacillus subtilis transcriptome profiles from two separate missions to the International Space Station

Removal of a typical frozen BRIC-21 FL sample from its PDFU

Nature Partner Journal | Microgravity – Comparison of Bacillus subtilis transcriptome profiles from two separate missions to the International Space Station

The human spaceflight environment is notable for the unique factor of microgravity, which exerts numerous physiologic effects on macroscopic organisms, but how this environment may affect single-celled microbes is less clear. In an effort to understand how the microbial transcriptome responds to the unique environment of spaceflight, the model Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis was flown on two separate missions to the International Space Station in experiments dubbed BRIC-21 and BRIC-23. Cells were grown to late-exponential/early stationary phase, frozen, then returned to Earth for RNA-seq analysis in parallel with matched ground control samples. A total of 91 genes were significantly differentially expressed in both experiments; 55 exhibiting higher transcript levels in flight samples and 36 showing higher transcript levels in ground control samples. Genes upregulated in flight samples notably included those involved in biofilm formation, biotin and arginine biosynthesis, siderophores, manganese transport, toxin production and resistance, and sporulation inhibition. Genes preferentially upregulated in ground control samples notably included those responding to oxygen limitation, e.g., fermentation, anaerobic respiration, subtilosin biosynthesis, and anaerobic regulatory genes. The results indicated differences in oxygen availability between flight and ground control samples, likely due to differences in cell sedimentation and the toroidal shape assumed by the liquid cultures in microgravity.

GLDS datasets used: GLDS-138, GLDS-185

Exploring the Effects of Spaceflight on Mouse Physiology using the Open Access NASA GeneLab Platform

rodent habitats

JoVE Peer-reviewed Scientific Video Journal – Exploring the Effects of Spaceflight on Mouse Physiology using the Open Access NASA GeneLab Platform

The NASA GeneLab platform provides unfettered access to precious omics data from biological spaceflight experiments. This article and video describes how a typical rodent experiment is performed in space, how omics data from these experiments can be accessed through the GeneLab platform, and how to identify key factors in these data. Using this process, any individual can make critical discoveries that could change the design of future space missions and activities.

Beheshti, A., Shirazi-Fard, Y., Choi, S., Berrios, D., Gebre, S. G., Galazka, J. M., Costes, S. V. Exploring the Effects of Spaceflight on Mouse Physiology using the Open Access NASA GeneLab Platform. J. Vis. Exp. (143), e58447, doi:10.3791/58447 (2019).

GeneLab: Omics database for spaceflight experiments

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Oxford Academics International Society for Computational Biology – GeneLab: Omics database for spaceflight experiments

The GeneLab Data System (GLDS) is an open access database with curated ‘omics (epigenomics, genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics) data, detailed metadata, and radiation dosimetry data for a variety of model organisms. This article describes the database content, the system architecture, and how expensive spaceflight experiments conducted aboard the International Space Station are curated and organized to maximize the scientific return on investment, while democratizing access to the vast amounts of spaceflight-related ‘omics data generated from several model organisms.

Shayoni Ray, Samrawit Gebre, Homer Fogle, Daniel C Berrios, Peter B Tran, Jonathan M. Galazka, Sylvain V. Costes