ARC ISS Drosophila Experiment (Fruit Fly Lab-01 (FFL-01)) - 08.05.15
The common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) is an important animal model for the human immune system, making it a useful model for studying the biological effects of spaceflight. Spaceflight affects the innate immune system, which could make animals including humans more susceptible to disease, especially because microbes can become hardier and more virulent in space. The NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) ISS Drosophila Experiment (Fruit Fly Lab-01) studies the combined effect of altered host immunity with changes to microbes in space. Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending Experiment Details
OpNom: Fruit Fly Lab-01 (FFL-01)
Sharmila Bhattacharya, Ph.D., NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States
Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)
Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery
ISS Expedition Duration
September 2014 - March 2015
Previous ISS Missions
Fungal Pathogenesis, Tumorigenesis, and Effects of Host Immunity in Space (FIT) Experiment, Shuttle Sortie on STS-121 (2006)
Since the research team has 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 potential consequences of space flight. An identification of the molecular biological changes within this system provides not only a mechanistic understanding of the changes induced in space, but also provides a basis for future countermeasure studies. The Drosophila innate immune system is highly homologous to the mammalian innate immune system, and provides useful translational information for other organisms as well.
This investigation utilizes frozen in-flight samples, inflight video data, and live returned samples to test the hypothesis that spaceflight causes a large effect on the in-vivo interaction between a host-microbe system. Research results have previously shown decrements of the innate immune system of the fruit fly after space flight, and the work of others showing altered physiology of microbial cultures in space. For this experiment, changes are measured in immune parameters, post-flight assays are conducted to assess host-microbial interactions, and video data is used to assess behavioral changes, as well asviability readouts resulting from space flight exposure. There is a 1g centrifuge on the ISS, and a ground 1g control to compare with the microgravity samples in this experiment. The study uses and builds on hardware and operational procedures utilized previously for the FIT experiment on STS-121.
Previous studies have shown spaceflight can make microbes more virulent and more resistant to antibacterial treatment. Research has also demonstrated spaceflight-related changes to the fly innate immune system, the first line of defense against invading bacteria and viruses. This investigation studies host-microbe interactions in space, which provides insight on the potential health consequences of spaceflight if microbes are stronger and immunity is weaker. Identifying the molecular changes at work helps scientists understand how the immune system functions, and how to design future countermeasures to keep crew members healthy.
The fruit fly's innate immune system is comparable to the mammalian innate immune system, so understanding immune system changes on a molecular level provides insight into the body's first line of defense against pathogens. Knowledge of how the immune system works, and how patients with weaker immune systems can get sick, benefits immuno-compromised patients on Earth.
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 are obtained automatically and downlinked.
Cassettes are installed in modified double-volume Type-I containers on the NanoRacks/Astrium centrifuge and on the NanoRacks microgravity rack. At TBD time, remove containers from centrifuge and microgravity rack and remove cassettes; replace food trays, freeze samples, reinsert cassettes into Type-I containers and replace on centrifuge and microgravity rack. Repeat 3 times at TBD intervals. Remove cassettes from centrifuge and microgravity rack and stow for return to Earth.
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Ground Based Results Publications
Inan OT, Etemadi M, Sanchez ME, Marcu O, Bhattacharya S, Kovacs GT. A miniaturized video system for monitoring the locomotor activity of walking drosophila melanogaster in space and terrestrial settings. IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering. 2009 February; 56(2): 522-524. DOI: 10.1109/TBME.2008.2006018.
Inan OT, Marcu O, Sanchez ME, Bhattacharya S, Kovacs GT. A portable system for monitoring the behavioral activity of Drosophila. Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 2011 October; 202(1): 45-52. DOI: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2011.08.039.
Wilson JW, Ott CM, Quick L, Davis R, Honer zu Bentrup K, Crabbe A, Richter E, Sarker SF, Barrila J, Porwollik S, Cheng P, McClelland M, Tsaprailis G, Radabaugh T, Hunt A, Shah M, Nelman-Gonzalez MA, Hing SM, Parra MP, Dumars P, Norwood KL, Bober R, Devich J, Ruggles AD, CdeBaca A, Narayan S, Benjamin J, Goulart C, Rupert M, Catella LA, Schurr MJ, Buchanan K, Morici L, McCracken J, Porter MD, Pierson DL, Smith SM, Mergeay M, Leys N, Stefanyshyn-Piper HM, Gorie D, Nickerson CA. Media Ion Composition Controls Regulatory and Virulence Response of Salmonella in Spaceflight. PLOS ONE. 2008; 3(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003923.
Wilson JW, Coleman C, Nickerson CA. Cloning and Transfer of the Salmonella Pathogenicity Island 2 Type III Secretion System for Studies of a Range of Gram-Negative Genera. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 2007 August 8; 73(18): 5911-5918. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.00952-07.
Marcu O, Lera MP, Sanchez ME, Levic E, Higgins LA, Shmygelska A, Fahlen TF, Nichol H, Bhattacharya S. Innate Immune Responses of Drosophila melanogaster Are Altered by Spaceflight. PLOS ONE. 2011; 6(1): 1-10. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015361.
Fahlen TF, Sanchez ME, Lera MP, Blazevic E, Chang J, Bhattacharya S. A Study of the Effects of Space Flight on the Immune Response in Drosophila Melanogaster. Gravitational and Space Biology. 2006; 19(2): 133-134.
Chan KL, Inan OT, Bhattacharya S, Marcu O. Estimating the speed of Drosophila locomotion using an automated behavior detection and analysis system . Fly. 2012 July-September; 6(3): 205-210. DOI: 10.4161/fly.20987. PMID: 22878427.