Dome Gene Experiment (DomeGene) - 09.23.15

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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

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
Yoshiro Nakajima, AIST, Japan
Kyugen Ito, AIST, Japan

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Sponsoring Space Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Sponsoring Organization
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Research Benefits
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ISS Expedition Duration 1
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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Decadal Survey Recommendations

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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 life.

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Results Publications

    Kitamoto J, Fukui A, Asashima M.  Temporal regulation of global gene expression and cellular morphology in Xenopus kidney cells in response to clinorotation. Advances in Space Research. 2005 January; 35(9): 1654-1661. DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2005.04.100.

    Ikuzawa M, Akiduki S, Asashima M.  Gene expression profile of Xenopus A6 cells cultured under random positioning machine shows downregulation of ion transporter genes and inhibition of dome formation. Advances in Space Research. 2007 January; 40(11): 1694-1702. DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2007.08.014.

    Ikuzawa M, Asashima M.  Global Expression of Simulated Microgravity-Responsive Genes in Xenopus Liver Cells. Zoological Science. 2008 August; 25(8): 828-837. DOI: 10.2108/zsj.25.828.

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Ground Based Results Publications

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ISS Patents

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Related Publications

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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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