Transfer of Molecules of DNA by Conjugation in Space Flight (Plazmida (Plasmid)) - 10.25.17

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

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Science Objectives for Everyone
Plazmida will examine the microgravity effect on the rate of transfer and mobilization of bacteria plasmids.
Science Results for Everyone
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The following content was provided by Vyacheslav Constantinovich Ilyin, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)
Vyacheslav Constantinovich Ilyin, Institute of Medical and Biological Problems of Russian Academy of Sciences (IMBP RAS), Russia

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Sponsoring Space Agency
Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos)

Sponsoring Organization
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Research Benefits
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ISS Expedition Duration
April 2004 - October 2004; April 2007 - October 2008; September 2011 - September 2012; March 2013 - September 2013

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
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Experiment Description

Research Overview
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Investigation of microgravity effect on the rate of transfer and mobilization of bacteria plasmids.

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Space Applications
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Earth Applications
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Operational Requirements and Protocols
Thermal container Biocont-T, Hybridizers Recomb-K Kit with tubes, Thermally insulated refrigerator Kriogem-03M.
Study the conjugation and mobilization process in space. Assess the effect of space flight factors on plasmid DNA transfer rate.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

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Results/More Information

Strains of Bacillus thuringiensis were used as the donor and the recipient: Bacillus thuringiensis GBJ085 (donor) x Bacillus thuringiensis 4Q7 (recipient). The donor contained a plasmid resistant to tetracycline and with the nalidixic acid resistance associated with the gene chromosome. The recipient was resistant to streptomycin. During the experiment on the ISS, Rekomb-K equipment was used, in which donor and recipient liquid cultures were transferred and mixed for conjugation.

The results of the studies conducted point to the suppression of plasmid transfer frequency in gram-negative microorganisms. This was particularly clear for the mobilization of bacterial genes, where the difference in the production of transconjugants was 1000 times less than in the control. The conditions for the preliminary adaptation of donor and recipient strains to space-flight facilitated the suppression of conjugation transfer frequency and did not affect the frequency of plasmid mobilization, which in both cases remained extremely low. However, gram-negative microorganisms strains adapted to spaceflight demonstrated an increase in plasmid transfer frequency during conjugation in flight and an increase in plasmid mobilization activity on Earth.

As regards plasmid stability, the flight plasmids were much more stable than the controls. The increase in the average number of determinants of antibiotic resistance in strains was observed in virtually all the groups. This was most clearly noted for the mobilization of strains adapted to space conditions when conjugation was done on Earth. This circumstance points to the fact that in spaceflight there is the risk of strain formation with signs of resistance, despite the decrease in plasmid transfer frequency in some microorganism groups in spaceflight. The research confirmed the possibility of using plasmid transfer frequency as a biological indicator for the status of microbial communities in changed living conditions. Based on the results of the research, a mathematical model was created of the impact of microgravity on conjugation processes, and as a result on the formation of strains with signs of resistance.

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Related Websites
Energia - Science Research on the ISS Russian Segment

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