Dome Gene Experiment (DomeGene) - 09.17.14

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To fully understand how microgravity affects human health, and develop effective countermeasures to those effects, scientists need to know what is happening to the cells in the body.  This investigation looks at the genes that respond to gravitational changes and ways to control those responses, in particular formation of “domes,” fluid-filled structures that spontaneously form in cell cultures of a particular kidney cell line. Early results indicate microgravity exerted little influence on the structure of the cells or their gene behavior, and that space radiation appear to have a greater impact than microgravity. This investigation’s innovative methodology may prove useful in other scientific disciplines such as radiation biology and developmental biology.

The following content was provided by Makoto Asashima, Ph.D., Tatsuo Dojyo, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Information provided courtesy of the Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)

  • Makoto Asashima, Ph.D., National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Tsukuba, Japan
  • Tatsuo Dojyo, AIST, Japan

  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
  • Yoshiro Nakajima, AIST, Japan
  • Kyugen Ito, AIST, Japan
  • Akimasa Fukui, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
  • Junji Ichiki, Tokyo University, Japan
  • Junichi Kuno, Tokyo University, Japan
  • Junko Kitamoto, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
  • Masayuki Ikusawa, AIST, Japan
  • Saori Akitsuki, AIST, Japan

  • Developer(s)
    Information Pending
    Sponsoring Space Agency
    Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

    Sponsoring Organization
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    Research Benefits
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    ISS Expedition Duration
    October 2008 - April 2009

    Expeditions Assigned

    Previous ISS Missions
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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview
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    Two kinds of amphibian cultured cell lines are cultured in Dome Gene. A-6 cell line derived from kidney and A-8 cell line derived from liver are used. They show different types of cell differentiation and morphogenesis. While they are cultured under microgravity,we observe the shape and state of the cells. And, we examine the known and unknown gene expression by DNA array assay using fixed and frozen recovery sample.

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    Space Applications
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    Earth Applications
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    Operational Requirements
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    Operational Protocols
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    Results/More Information

    Early results revealed that microgravity exerted little influence on the morphological characteristics of the cells or on their gene expression patterns, and that space radiation exerted a greater effect than microgravity, particularly in the aspects of organ and cancer development. Understanding the microgravity and space radiation effects on human health leads to the creation of effective countermeasures for future space flights.

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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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    image Kidney Cell on the left cultured in a microgravity environment. Kidney cells on the right cultured in an artificial gravity environment. Image courtesy of Japan Aerospace Exploration Space Agency (JAXA).
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