This investigation examined how microgravity affects nervous system development in fruit flies, using commercial scientific hardware that can support many biological laboratory investigations adapted to operate in space and which require temperature controls from 4 degrees C to 37 degrees C. The results from this investigation may give insight on how microgravity affects human nervous system development. This investigation was part of a suite of experiments that used the CGBA hardware.Principal Investigator(s)
University of Colorado at Boulder, BioServe Space Technologies, Boulder, CO, United States
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)Sponsoring Organization
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)Research Benefits
Information PendingISS Expedition Duration
September 2000 - November 2000Expeditions Assigned
0Previous ISS Missions
CGBA-SM has previously flown on STS-93.
CGBA-Synaptogenesis in Microgravity (SM) used the CGBA hardware to examine how microgravity affects the neuronal development of fruit files, Drosophila melanogaster. This investigation used D. melanogaster embryos and larvae to observe how nerves that control movement navigate through an embryonic central nervous system and attach to muscle fibers. Investigators observed how the synapses, the junction between two nerve cells where signals are transferred from one nerve to another, developed both during and after the embryonic stage.
The Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA) provided automated processing for biological experiments. The CGBA can contain up to eight containers that house the experiments. Each container is programmable and temperature controlled. For this experiment, the CGBA hardware included the isothermal containment module (ICM v.3) and seven Gas Exchange (GE) - Group Activation Packs (GAP). To control the on orbit development of D. melanogaster, the GE-GAPs were automatically operated by the ICM, through preprogrammed temperature profiles.
The GE-GAPs have an aluminum shell that enabled heat transfer and a gas-permeable membrane covering the openings in the wall allowing passive gas exchange for the experimental samples. The ICM provided highly-accurate temperature control between 4 degrees C and 37 degrees C. Eight individually-controlled temperature areas are available inside the ICM and the surrounding container controls the temperature gradients. It is fully equipped with data, video, and telemetry electronics to allow telescience remote operation. The ICM v. 3 can be equipped with a number of bioprocessing inserts, including custom configurations.
Understanding how microgravity affects the nervous system can lead to countermeasures that can be applied during long duration space flights.Earth Applications
This investigation will examine how nerves develop and how they attach to muscle fibers. This may lead to an understanding of how various types of nervous system disease development and new treatments could be created from this type of research.
CGBA-SM used seven GE-GAPs housed in the CGBA. Each of the GE-GAPs contained eight 100mm Petri dishes. Of the eight Petri dishes, seven contained the D. melanogaster larvae sample on agar. The eighth Petri dish was used to house StowAway, a temperature-recording device. The samples were returned to the ground team for analysis.Operational Protocols
CGBA-SM was designed to operate automatically, through pre-programming, while on orbit. GE-GAPs were launched with a temperature of 11.5 degrees C. Once in orbit the temperature was automatically raised to 18 degrees C to initiate fruit fly development. The deactivation of the samples occurred at different times for the GE-GAPs, in order to preserve specific points in development. For deactivation, the temperature was decreased to 11.5 degrees C.
Preliminary results based on the 30-day Postflight Report, provided by Dr. David Klaus of BioServe Space Technology, indicated that indicated that although the CGBA hardware operated successfully, there were unexpected temperature drifts above the planned temperature in two of the seven containers. While ground tests were completed for comparison to the in-flight samples, final data analysis has not been released.
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