NanoRacks-Loomis Chaffee School-Effect of microgravity on protein aggregation (NanoRacks-LCS-Protein Aggregation) - 11.22.16

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Proteins are crucial for any organism’s survival, but in certain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, proteins clump together, or aggregate, and cause health problems. NanoRacks-Loomis Chaffee School-Effect of microgravity on protein aggregation (NanoRacks-LCS-Protein Aggregation) studies how microgravity affects the aggregation of a certain protein found in an egg white. Studying how microgravity affects protein aggregation may yield new discoveries relevant to degenerative brain diseases.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Koby Osei-Mensah, B.S., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: NanoRacks Module-9 Ext S/N 1014

Principal Investigator(s)
The Loomis Chaffee School , The Loomis Chaffee School, Windsor, CT, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Koby Osei-Mensah, B.S., The Loomis Chaffee School, Windsor, CT, United States
Scott MacClintic, B.S., The Loomis Chaffee School, Windsor, CT, United States

Developer(s)
The Loomis Chaffee School, Windsor, CT, United States
NanoRacks LLC, Webster, TX, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory Education (NLE)

Research Benefits
Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2014 - March 2015

Expeditions Assigned
39/40,41/42

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • Protein aggregation, specifically the formation of amyloid fibrils, does not seem to have been thoroughly studied in a microgravity environment. By performing NanoRacks-Loomis Chaffee School-Effect of microgravity on protein aggregation (NanoRacks-LCS-Protein Aggregation), it is possible that more protein aggregation studies can be realized in microgravity on the International Space Station (ISS).
  • This proof-of-concept experiment shows whether or not lysozyme aggregation can be induced in microgravity. In addition, since protein aggregation has similar kinetics to that of crystallization, this experiment yields data regarding protein aggregation kinetics and aggregation conformation in microgravity.
  • This research provides more information about the mechanisms and kinetics of protein aggregation, thus contributing to the overall understanding of neurodegenerative disease pathways.

Description
NanoRacks-Loomis Chaffee School-Effect of microgravity on protein aggregation (NanoRacks-LCS-Protein Aggregation) is a proof-of-concept experiment determining whether or not Hen Egg White Lysozyme (HEWL) aggregation can be induced in microgravity. This experiment yields data regarding protein aggregation kinetics and aggregation conformation in microgravity. Studying the effects of microgravity on lysozyme aggregation, which is similar to aggregation of other neurodegenerative diseases, may yield new discoveries pertinent to the neurodegenerative disease mechanism. Protein aggregation is involved in various neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. By performing NanoRacks-LCS-Protein Aggregation, it is possible that more protein aggregation studies can be realized in microgravity on the International Space Station (ISS).

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Applications

Space Applications
This investigation demonstrates whether a protein called Hen Egg White Lysozyme (HEWL) can be induced to form aggregates in microgravity. If so, this would enable more detailed space-based protein aggregation investigations in the future. Because protein aggregation happens in a similar fashion to particle crystallization, results also provide insight into crystal formation in microgravity.

Earth Applications
Several diseases involve the formation of amyloid fibrils, which are aggregates of proteins that link together and cannot be dissolved. These deposits form in several organs in the body, causing a wide range of health problems. They are implicated in degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Results from this investigation provide new insight into the mechanics of this aggregation, enabling scientists to study it in ways that would not be possible on Earth, possibly benefiting patients with degenerative diseases. In addition, the investigation was designed and developed by students working with their high school biology teacher, connecting them to the space program and providing a unique educational opportunity.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols
The MixStix are unclamped to combine different compartments, typically causing either activation or deactivation of the experiment. The MixStix are returned to the students.
A crew member removes the Velcro tabs to open the Module-9 Ext lid. The crew member unclamps the fasteners on the MixStix as directed, enabling the materials in the various chambers to flow. The crew member then shakes the MixStix (when directed) to mix the liquids thoroughly. Repeat for all MixStix. Crew member notes the time of MixStix activation and replaces the tubes back in Module-9. The lid is replaced and secured with the Velcro tabs.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites
Loomis Chaffee Space Team
NanoRacks

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Imagery

image Students using the UV-Vis Spectrophotometer to analyze the sample for NanoRacks-Loomis Chaffee School-Effect of microgravity on protein aggregation (NanoRacks-LCS-Protein Aggregation). Image courtesy of The Loomis Chaffee School.
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image Students measuring out a portion of the hen egg white lysozyme (HEWL) to prepare a sample solution for ground tests of protein aggregation for the NanoRacks-Loomis Chaffee School-Effect of microgravity on protein aggregation (NanoRacks-LCS-Protein Aggregation) investigaiton. Image courtesy of The Loomis Chaffee School.
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image Students preparing samples for Bradford assay and UV-Vis spectroscopic analysis for NanoRacks-Loomis Chaffee School-Effect of microgravity on protein aggregation (NanoRacks-LCS-Protein Aggregation). Image courtesy of The Loomis Chaffee School.
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image A student showing the assembled MixStix containing the experiment right before it was shipped to NanoRacks for NanoRacks-Loomis Chaffee School-Effect of microgravity on protein aggregation (NanoRacks-LCS-Protein Aggregation). Image courtesy of The Loomis Chaffee School.
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image The NanoRacks-Loomis Chaffee School-Effect of microgravity on protein aggregation (NanoRacks-LCS-Protein Aggregation) student course was an E-learning one with lessons given over the web. Image courtesy of The Loomis Chaffee School.
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