Bacterial Production of Recombinant Proteins in Microgravity (Bacterial Production of Recombinant Proteins in Microgravity) - 03.20.19

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
The Bacterial Production of Recombinant Proteins in Microgravity investigation explores the behavior and fluorescence of Escherichia coli bacteria containing a green fluorescent protein. Imaging these bacteria in space helps determine the effects of microgravity on the processes of transformation and fluorescence.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

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


Principal Investigator(s)
Jennifer Carter, Craft Academy, Morehead, KY, United States

Information Pending

Space Tango, Inc., Lexington, KY, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory (NL)

Research Benefits
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
October 2018 - March 2019

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • Bacterial Production of Recombinant Proteins in Microgravity studies a variant of green fluorescent protein (GFP) in recombinant bacteria, Escherichia coli (E. Coli). GFP is important for transgenic and genomic studies.
  • Understanding the influence the space environment may or may not have on the process and expression of transformation may be extremely important information used in future studies regarding genetic modification and long-term space travel.
  • Further, information may be gained about the mechanism by which bacteria are able to overcome environmental stressors such as space.


Bacterial Production of Recombinant Proteins in Microgravity tests the ability of recombinant Escherichia coli (E. Coli) to maintain and replicate fluorescence-encoding plasmids through the process of transformation in microgravity. Colonies grown aboard the International Space Station (ISS) are exposed to UV “blacklight” at a non-harmful wavelength, which excites a green fluorescent glow in properly transformed cells. Results of this study may be valuable in laying a scientific baseline for studies into transgenic organisms and genetic modification in the space environment.

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Space Applications
Examining how microgravity affects the process and expression of transformation may contribute to future studies on genetic changes that occur during long-term space travel.

Earth Applications
Better understanding of this bacteria’s transformation in space may help expand our knowledge of genetically modified organisms on Earth.

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Operational Requirements and Protocols
The science is contained inside of a 2U CubeLab in 4°C cold stow, with an orientation constraint, for ascent. The crew installs the CubeLab onto a payload card and then into the TangoLab, where autonomous operations occur. At the end of operations, the crew removes and stows the hardware for return to Earth. The investigation is turned over to the Space Tango team upon return.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites
Space Tango
Moorehead State University

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