Current Knowledge About The Impact Of Microgravity On Gene Regulation

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
December 11, 2023
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Current Knowledge About The Impact Of Microgravity On Gene Regulation
The effects of a four-day RPM exposure on the human squamous non-small-cell lung cancer cell line CRL-5889 according to Dietz and co-workers [196] (A–D). (A) The RPM exposure leads to partial detachment of cells from the bottom of the flask and after 24 h to first aggregations (spheroid formation) that further increase after 96 h. (D, black arrow). However, one part of the cells remains attached to the bottom of the bottle (D, adherent cells (AD), white arrow). These AD cells exhibit an upregulation of the PTEN, RB1, TP53, CDKN2A, and SOX2 gene expression, whose protein-to-protein interactions were shown by STRING analysis (B). In contrast under 1g on 2D cell culture plate the cells stay in a state of near confluence (C). These results are published in [196]. — Life

Microgravity (µg) has a massive impact on the health of space explorers. Microgravity changes the proliferation, differentiation, and growth of cells.

As crewed spaceflights into deep space are being planned along with the commercialization of space travelling, researchers have focused on gene regulation in cells and organisms exposed to real (r-) and simulated (s-) µg.

In particular, cancer and metastasis research benefits from the findings obtained under µg conditions. Gene regulation is a key factor in a cell or an organism’s ability to sustain life and respond to environmental changes. It is a universal process to control the amount, location, and timing in which genes are expressed.

In this review, we provide an overview of µg-induced changes in the numerous mechanisms involved in gene regulation, including regulatory proteins, microRNAs, and the chemical modification of DNA. In particular, we discuss the current knowledge about the impact of microgravity on gene regulation in different types of bacteria, protists, fungi, animals, humans, and cells with a focus on the brain, eye, endothelium, immune system, cartilage, muscle, bone, and various cancers as well as recent findings in plants. Importantly, the obtained data clearly imply that µg experiments can support translational medicine on Earth.

https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4409/12/7/1043, Life (open access)


Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻