NanoRacks-NDC-Calumet College of St. Joseph-Beta-Amyloid Peptide (NanoRacks-NDC-CCSJ-Beta-Amyloid Peptide) - 06.14.17

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Alzheimer’s disease, an irreversible neurodegenerative process, is characterized by formation of neurofibrillary tangles of tau protein and plaques, or clumps of amyloid beta peptide, that kill brain cells. Research suggests that an intermediate stage in fibril formation is ten times more toxic and may play a greater role in cell death and development of Alzheimer’s disease. NanoRacks-NDC-Calumet College of St. Joseph-Beta-Amyloid Peptide (NanoRacks-NDC-CCSJ-Beta-Amyloid Peptide) examines fibril formation and beta amyloid peptides in microgravity using a fluorescence spectrometer. Results could lead to ways to slow down the rate at which Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain or to eliminate toxic effects of beta amyloid peptide.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Sandra Chimon-Rogers, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom:

Principal Investigator(s)
Sandra Chimon-Rogers, Ph.D., Calumet College of St. Joseph, Whiting, IN, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Ahmed Lakhani, Ph.D., Calumet College of St. Joseph, Whiting, IN, United States

Developer(s)
Calumet College of St. Joseph, 3rd floor, Physics Lab, Whiting, IN, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory (NL)

Research Benefits
Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery, Space Exploration

ISS Expedition Duration
April 2017 - September 2017

Expeditions Assigned
51/52

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • The incorrect folding and aggregation of β-amyloid (Aβ) proteins results in the formation of plaques in the post-mortem brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
  • NanoRacks-NDC-Calumet College of St. Joseph-Beta-Amyloid Peptide (NanoRacks-NDC-CCSJ-Beta-Amyloid Peptide) examines the misfolding of Aβ proteins in microgravity.
  • Fluorescence spectrometry is utilized to determine the structure of the target proteins and see if misfolding occurs while on the International Space Station.
  • Results from the study could provide new details about the pathology of the misfolding of the peptide and help identify novel targets for drug design therapies.

Description

In recent years, the study of prion diseases have provided hope for understanding and treating many neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson’s, Creutzfeldt-Jakob, and Alzheimer’s disease. The incorrect folding and aggregation of 40-42 residue length β-amyloid (Aβ) proteins results in the formation of plaques in the post-mortem brains of Alzheimer’s patients. The onset of neurodegeneration is commonly attributed to toxic beta-sheet filaments; however, previous research discovered diffusible sub-fibril intermediates presenting comparable toxicity to fibrils. NanoRacks-NDC-Calumet College of St. Joseph-Beta-Amyloid Peptide (NanoRacks-NDC-CCSJ-Beta-Amyloid Peptide) examines the contribution of a hair-pin region (residues 22-35) on the misfolding of Aβ. Spectroscopic analysis of a shorter fragment of Aβ (residues 22-35), incubated in-situ at 24˚C, may reveal key secondary conformational shifts. Fluorescence spectroscopy may potentially show an increase in toxicity of Aβ. Further isolation and characterization of globular and β-sheet intermediates could provide new details about the pathology of fibrils and identify novel targets for drug design therapies.
 
The research group is building a fluorescence spectrometer. Fluorescence is a radiation method where the molecules of interest are excited by UV-Visible radiation at an appropriate wavelength, the electronic state of the molecule changes from the ground state to vibrational levels to one of the excited electronic states. Once the molecule is in the excited state, relaxation can occur via several processes. Fluorescence is the selected processes because it results in emitting photons of a longer wavelength (e.g. visible or near infrared), therefore allowing us to obtain useable data that can be manipulated mathematically to a set of references.
 
Furthermore, fluorescence spectrometer is used as one of the method to determine the secondary structure (α-helix, β-sheets, Random coil, etc.). Based on fluorescence properties, the experiment uses a dye (fluorescent molecule), which binds to the secondary structure and emit radiation (fluorescence). The radiation is collected as an emission spectrum that provides information for both qualitative and quantitative analysis. The fluorescence spectrometer was built using a laser beam (~445 wavelength), which is used as a light source passing through a solution in a cuvette. Fluorescence is then measured, and the radiation that is emitted by the sample at 90° angle.

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Applications

Space Applications
NanoRacks-NDC-CCSJ-Beta-Amyloid Peptide could help provide a way to determine the probability that astronauts will develop Alzheimer’s disease and offer possible prevention.

Earth Applications
NanoRacks-NDC-CCSJ-Beta-Amyloid Peptide examines fibril formation in microgravity to identify possible ways to slow the rate at which this intermediate stage forms or to skip it entirely. This could lead to novel targets for new drugs that help prevent brain cell death and development of Alzheimer’s disease.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols
The research contains one blank which contains everything except the peptide and 3 samples which have the peptide and the buffer solution. The samples are stirred via motors, the laser emits and the detector collects the data and it rotates and repeats. This happens every 4-5 minutes. The data is written to an SD card. Upon landing, the SD card is recovered and the data is Fourier transformed and analyzed.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites
CASIS NDC

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Imagery