This investigation examined how microgravity alters the genes controlling the production of proteins in association with kidney cells; using commercial scientific hardware that has supported many biological laboratory investigations adapted to operate in space and which require temperature controls from 4 degrees C to 37 degrees C. This research will allow the manipulation of cells to produce specific tissues for use as models in the development of new medicines to treat kidney disorders. This investigation was part of a suite of three 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-KCGE has previously flown on STS-90.
Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus - Kidney Cell Gene Expression (CGBA-KCGE) was one of three experiments that used the CGBA hardware. CGBA-KCGE was a follow up to a Neurolab investigation that took place during STS-90 that examined the effects of microgravity on kidney (renal) cells. What was discovered from the STS-90 investigation, was that microgravity caused alterations in the kidney cell genes and that the cells, when grown in microgravity, can join together in 3-dimensional structures that are similar to what are found in organs. These structures are extremely difficult to duplicate on Earth.
The primary objective of CGBA-KCGE was to assess how microgravity alters the genes that control protein production in kidney cells. The investigator hoped to be able to manipulate the kidney cells to produce specific tissues that can be used in models when developing medicines or in humans. The kidney cell samples were drawn into the test tubes containing a preservative, approximately two hours after reaching orbit. Once the samples were drawn, a messenger RNA (mRNA) preservative was added to the cell cultures for postflight analysis.
The Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA) provided automated processing for biological experiments. The CGBA contained eight containers that housed the experiments. Each container is programmable and temperature controlled. For this experiment, the CGBA hardware included the isothermal containment module (ICM v.3) and one generic bioprocessing apparatus (GBA). The remaining seven slots were used for the Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus- Synaptogenesis in Microgravity (CGBA-SM) experiment.
The ICM v.3 provides highly-accurate temperature control between 4 degrees C and 37 degrees C. Eight individually-controlled temperature areas were available inside and the surrounding container controlled temperature gradients. The ICM v.3 is fully equipped with data, video, and telemetry electronics to allow telescience remote operation. ICM v. 3 was equipped with a number of bioprocessing inserts, including the GBA. The GBA was a self contained mixing and heating module for processing biological fluid samples in triple-contained glass vials.
Observing the effects that microgravity has on cellular structures, gives insight into how the human body reacts at the cellular level. These changes may lead to the development of countermeasures that would lower the human risk of long duration spaceflight.Earth Applications
Manipulating cells samples to create tissues that are similar in structure to that of those found in the human body can be used in many types of research applications. These samples can be used for developing new medications to treat various diseases.
CGBA-KCGE used one GBA , housed inside a Gas Exchange - Group Activation Pack (GAP) in the CGBA. The GBA held the cell samples and the test tubes that preserved them until the samples could be analyzed by the ground team.Operational Protocols
The kidney cell samples were drawn into the test tubes containing a preservative, approximately two hours after reaching orbit. Once the samples were drawn, a messenger RNA (mRNA) preservative was added to the cell cultures for postflight analysis. The temperature was decreased to 8 degrees C to stabilize the sample for the remainder of the mission. The samples were returned to the ground team for analysis.
Preliminary results indicated that that an average of 60% of the kidney cell samples from CGBA-KCGE were drawn into the Vacutainers. Although the sample size was smaller, the samples were sufficient for postflight analysis. For the synaptogenesis experiment with fruit flies, preliminary results 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. (Evans et al. 2009)