ARC ISS Drosophila Experiment (Fruit Fly Lab-01 (FFL-01)) - 07.29.14

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery
ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Drosophila melanogaster, or the fruit fly, serves as a useful model organism to investigate the biological effects of the space environment. In our previous experiment we have shown that the innate immune system of the fly is affected by spaceflight. In this experiment we plan on studying what the combined effect of altered host immunity and altered microbial physiology will be in the space flight environment.

Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

This content was provided by Sharmila Bhattacharya, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Experiment Details

OpNom Fruit Fly Lab-01 (FFL-01)

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Sharmila Bhattacharya, Ph.D., NASA Ames Research Center, CA, United States

  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
    Information Pending
    NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States

    Sponsoring Space Agency
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Sponsoring Organization
    Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)

    Research Benefits
    Information Pending

    ISS Expedition Duration
    September 2014 - March 2015

    Expeditions Assigned

    Previous ISS Missions
    STS 121, 2006 Shuttle Sortie

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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • Since we have characterized the effects of the space environment on the innate immune system of the fly, and several other studies have investigated its effects on microbes, it is important to look at the combined host-microbe system to determine what the potential consequences of space flight might be. An identification of the molecular biological changes within this system will provide not only a mechanistic understanding of the changes induced in space, but will also provide a basis for future countermeasure studies.   The Drosophila innate immune system is highly homologous to the mammalian innate immune system, and will provide useful translational information for other organisms as well.


    This investigation will utilize frozen in-flight samples, in-flight video data and live returned samples to test the hypothesis that spaceflight will cause a large effect on the in-vivo interaction between a host-microbe system. We have previously shown decrements of the innate immune system of the fly after space flight, and the work of others showing altered physiology of microbial cultures in space. We will measure changes in immune parameters, conduct post-flight assays to assess host-microbial interactions, and use video data to assess behavioral changes as well as viability readouts resulting from space flight exposure. There will be an on board 1g centrifuge control in space, and a ground 1g control to compare with the microgravity samples in this experiment.  This study will use and build on hardware and operational procedures utilized previously for the FIT experiment on STS 121.

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    Space Applications

    This study looks at host-microbe interactions in space, this is relevant to all biological systems and will be a useful indicator of the in-flight consequences of having disrupted immune function and altered virulence of microbial systems.

    Earth Applications
    Studies of hosts with disrupted immune function is of importance on Earth when studying immuno-compromised patients and the effects of opportunistic pathogens on such patients.

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    Operational Requirements

    Crew operations required for installation of units, sample collection, freezing of samples, and proper stowage of units for return to Earth.  Images of the flies will be obtained automatically and downlinked.

    Operational Protocols

    • Install containers on centrifuge and on ug rack.

    • At TBD time, remove containers from centrifuge and ug rack; replace food trays, freeze samples, replace containers on centrifuge and ug rack.

    • Repeat 3 times at TBD intervals.

    • Remove containers from centrifuge and ug rack and stow for return to Earth.

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    Results/More Information
    Information Pending

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    Results Publications

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    Ground Based Results Publications

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    ISS Patents

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    Related Publications

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    Related Websites

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