Does Spaceflight Alter the Virulence of a Natural Parasite of Drosophila (Fruit Fly Lab-03 (FFL-03)) - 12.28.17

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
The common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) has a complex immune system that can serve as a model for understanding how well the human immune system functions in space. The spaceflight environment is known to affect host-pathogen interactions, which could make animals, as well as humans, more susceptible to infection, especially because it is possible that pathogens may become more virulent in space. Does Spaceflight Alter the Virulence of a Natural Parasite of Drosophila (Fruit Fly Lab-03) (FFL-03) examines the combined effect of altered host response, with changes to pathogens, during spaceflight.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Subha Govind, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: Fruit Fly Lab-03

Principal Investigator(s)
Subha Govind, The Graduate Center of CUNY and Biology Department The City College of New York, New York, NY, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Sharmila Bhattacharya, Ph.D., NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States

Developer(s)
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
NASA Research Office - Space Life and Physical Sciences (NASA Research-SLPS)

Research Benefits
Space Exploration, Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery

ISS Expedition Duration
September 2017 - February 2018; -

Expeditions Assigned
53/54,55/56

Previous Missions
Fungal Pathogenesis, Tumorigenesis, and Effects of Host Immunity in Space (FIT) Experiment, STS 121, 2006 Shuttle Sortie; HEART FLIES SpX-3, 2015; Fruit Fly Lab-01 (FFL-01) SpX-5, 2015; Fruit Fly Lab-02 (FFL-02) SpX-11

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Experiment Description

Research Overview
The overarching goals of the Does Spaceflight Alter the Virulence of a Natural Parasite of Drosophila (Fruit Fly Lab-03) (FFL-03) investigation are two-fold:  the first is to examine if the success of the fly/wasp interaction is altered during exposure to the spaceflight environment; and second, to determine if parasites reared in space have the same virulence (or reduced virulence) as their counterparts on Earth.

Description

For the Does Spaceflight Alter the Virulence of a Natural Parasite of Drosophila (Fruit Fly Lab-03) (FFL-03) investigation, the NASA Fruit Fly Lab Vented Fly Box hardware is used to culture fruit flies and their natural wasp parasites aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in order to examine the effects of spaceflight on the anti-parasite responses of the host Drosophila, and examine if the virulence of “space-cultured” wasps is different from those grown on Earth. Using two wild type wasp species and two fly strains with specific genotype, this investigation utilizes functional and gene expression experiments to determine the effects of spaceflight on parasite development, host defense, parasite virulence, and fly/host survival.

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Applications

Space Applications
Fruit Fly Lab-03 investigates the effects of spaceflight on virulence in host-pathogen interaction. As a model organism, fruit flies can provide fundamental information on the immune response of humans, and in turn provide new insights into the implementation of safe long-term spaceflight on future manned exploration missions.

Earth Applications
The fruit fly's immune system is comparable to the mammalian immune system. A better understanding of immune system changes on a molecular level as a result of exposure to microgravity can provide insight into the body's first line of defense against pathogens. Better knowledge of how the immune system works, and how patients with weaker immune systems can get sick, can benefit patients on Earth.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols

  • Transfer Cargo Transfer Bag (CTB) to the Columbus Laboratory Module end-cone no later than Launch +6 days.
  • Transfer CTB from the Columbus end-cone back to SpaceX Dragon vehicle no earlier than Unberth -2 days.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

CategoryReference
Animal and Human Biology AH14

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites

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Imagery

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Schematic showing 6 VFBs in a CTB with labeled launch direction requirement. Face of VFBs with 15 vent holes shall be facing the nose of Dragon on launch and return to prevent food from shifting from its location on the bottom of each vial, and shall remain upright through turnover to PD in Long Beach.

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Vented Fly Box (VFB) with labeled launch direction requirement. VFB is an aluminum box with 15 polystyrene vials of fly cultures or fly/wasp co-cultures inside. Face of VFB with 15 vent holes shall be facing the nose of Dragon on launch and return, and shall remain upright through turnover to PD in Long Beach, in order to prevent food from shifting from its location on the bottom of each vial.

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