Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Protein Crystallization Growth (JAXA Low Temp PCG) - 09.19.18

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
The objective of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Protein Crystallization Growth (JAXA LT PCG) investigation is to grow high quality protein crystals in microgravity to determine protein structures in detail. The structures are used to develop pharmaceutical drugs in order to explore the mystery of our lives. The protein samples are launched to the International Space Station (ISS) and crystallized in 4℃ using the counter-diffusion method.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Kazunori Ohta, 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

OpNom: JAXA LT PCG

Principal Investigator(s)
Kazunori Ohta, JAXA, Japan

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Information Pending

Developer(s)
Tsukuba Space Center, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan

Sponsoring Space Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Sponsoring Organization
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Research Benefits
Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2016 - April 2017; September 2017 - April 2019; -

Expeditions Assigned
47/48,49/50,53/54,55/56,57/58,59/60,61/62

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • Under microgravity conditions, convection and sedimentation are suppressed. Therefore, diffusion areas are maintained, the density around the crystals decreases, the crystals grow slowly, the capture of impurities and microcrystal decreases, and a crystal will grow well.
  • High quality protein crystals are obtained.
  • Using high quality crystals obtained in the space experiment, detailed information on crystal structures for designing new drugs for diseases and catalysts for ecological application are obtained.

Description
JAXA developed a new technique that estimates the driving force ratio of crystals grown on the ground and in space, and the capture ratio of impurities through the diffusion/capture coefficient of protein. This technique proved that under microgravity conditions with high viscosity and slow diffusion, a protein depletion zone and impurity depletion zone appears. Using this technique we try to get high quality protein crystals. Our goal is to contribute to yielding results which meet the social requirements.

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Applications

Space Applications
This experiment contributes to the complex process of drug discovery by revealing disease-related protein structure, and the production of new catalysts for the environmental and energy industries. This will show how effective the ISS is for investigations of this type.

Earth Applications
This experiment contributes to the complex process of drug discovery by revealing disease-related protein structure, and the production of new catalysts for the environmental and energy industries.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols

  • JAXA LT PCG Kit contains the protein samples and must be kept at +4°C.
  • Duration of experiment must be over 25 days to make protein crystals grow larger. 
  • Loading of the protein samples into the crystallization cells is done in Japan.
  • The JAXA LT PCG Kit is launched on Space-X. After docking to ISS, the crew transfers the JAXA LT PCG Kit to Kibo.
  • The crew operates some steps to start crystallization, installs the JAXA LT PCG Kit into the Stirling-Cycle Refrigerator (FROST) and runs the experiment over 25 days at +4°C.
  • At the completion of the experiment, the crew removes the JAXA LT PCG Kit from the FROST and transfer to the Space-X for return and retrieval.
  • The 3 dimensional structure of the protein crystals grown in space are analyzed at a synchrotron facility on the ground.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites

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Imagery