Cell & Molecular Biology Program


Check out the recent publications from participating NASA scientists, Principal Investigators, and contributors from universities and labs around the world:

MicroRNAs (miRNAs), the final frontier: The hidden master regulators impacting biological response in all organisms due to spaceflight. Vanderburg C, Beheshti A. THREE. 2020 Mar 9. (GeneLab)

This review discusses the potential use of miRNAs as biological dosimeters for space radiation, the specific role of miRNAs with regard to radiation and microgravity, and the impact miRNAs have on health risks associated with spaceflight.

Protecting activity of desiccated enzymes. Piszkiewicz S, Gunn KH, Warmuth O, Propst A, Mehta A, Nguyen KH, Kuhlman E, Guseman AJ, Stadmiller SS, Boothby TC, Neher SB, Pielak GJ. Protein Sci. 2019 Mar 13. [Epub ahead of print] (Boothby, NNX15AB44G)

This study extracted cytosolic abundant heat soluble proteins (CAHS) proteins from tardigrades, which synthesize (CAHS) proteins to protect its cellular components during desiccation.  The experiment indicated that the proteins protected the test enzymes lactate dehydrogenase and lipoprotein lipase against desiccation-, freezing-, and lyophilization-induced deactivation.  Results demonstrate the potential use of CAHS proteins as stabilizing excipients in drug formulations and suggest that other proteins may have similar potential.

Effects of a Four-day Spaceflight and Recombinant Human Growth Hormone on Cancellous Bone Microarchitecture in Femoral Head of Rapidly Growing Male Rats. RT Turner, RT Deyhle Jr, AJ Branscum, UT Iwaniec.  Matters Select, 2019.  (Turner, NNX15AL15G)

This study re-examines bones from mice flown on the STS-41 mission with microcomputed tomography (X-ray) that was unavailable at the time the mission was flown in 1990. Examination of the femoral heads in both spaceflight controls and the recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) mice treated post-flight indicated that that rhGH was ineffective at treating microgravity-induced cancellous bone loss.

Knee and Hip Joint Cartilage Damage from Combined Spaceflight Hazards of Low-Dose Radiation Less than 1 Gy and Prolonged Hindlimb Unloading. Kwok AT, Moore JE, Rosas S, Kerr BA, Andrews RN, Nguyen CM, Lee J, Furdui CM, Collins BE, Munley MT, Willey JS.  Radiation Research. 2019 Mar 29.  (Willey, NNX15AB50G)

Ground-based investigation using both (simulated) microgravity exposure, using hind limb unloading (HLU) in combination with irradiation, or irradiation alone to characterize the effects on knee and hip joint cartilage. Study findings demonstrate that both individually and combined, HLU and exposure to spaceflight-relevant radiation doses lead to cartilage degradation of the knee and hip with expression of an arthritic phenotype.

Endocrine Effects of Space Flight. Hammond T.G., Birdsall H.H. In: Pathak Y., Araújo dos Santos M., Zea L. (eds) Handbook of Space Pharmaceuticals. Springer, Cham 2019. (Hammond, NNX12AM93G)

The chapter focuses on the effects of space flight on hormones that are secreted by the kidney, hormones that act on the kidney, and how renal function perturbs hormonal balance. Primary among these are the effects on bone metabolism and cardiac function.

Transient gene and microRNA expression profile changes of confluent human fibroblast cells in spaceflight.
Zhang, Y., Lu, T., Wong, M., Wang, X., Stodieck, L., Karouia, F., . . . Wu, H. (2016). FASEB J. DOI:10.1096/fj.201500121

Cultivation Of Staphylococcus Epidermidis In The Human Spaceflight Environment Leads To Alterations In The Frequency And Spectrum Of Spontaneous Rifampicin-Resistance Mutations In The Rpob Gene.
Fajardo-Cavazos P, Nicholson WL. Frontiers in Microbiology. 2016; 7: 999.
DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00999. PMID: 27446039. 

Spaceflight alters expression of microRNA during T-cell activation.
Hughes-Fulford, M., Chang, T. T., Martinez, E. M., & Li, C. F. (2015). FASEB J. DOI:10.1096/fj.15-277392

Spaceflight and simulated microgravity cause a significant reduction of key gene expression in early T-cell activation.
Martinez, E. M., Yoshida, M. C., Candelario, T. T., & Hughes-Fulford, M. (2015). Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol, ajpregu.00449.02014. DOI:10.1152/ajpregu.00449.2014

Stem Cell Health and Tissue Regeneration in Microgravity.
Blaber, E., Sato, K., & Almeida, E. A. (2014). Stem Cells Dev, 23(S1), 73-78. DOI:10.1089/scd.2014.0408

Spaceflight effects and molecular responses in the mouse eye: Observations after Shuttle Mission STS-133.
SB, Z., CA, T., CM, P. P., & P, C.-B. (2013). Gravitational and Space Research, 1(1), 29-46.

Spaceflight environment induces mitochondrial oxidative damage in ocular tissue.
Mao, X. W., Pecaut, M. J., Stodieck, L. S., Ferguson, V. L., Bateman, T. A., Bouxsein, M., . . . Gridley, D. S. (2013). Radiat Res, 180(4), 340-350. DOI:10.1667/rr3309.1

The Rel/NF-kappaB pathway and transcription of immediate early genes in T cell activation are inhibited by microgravity.
Chang, T. T., Walther, I., Li, C. F., Boonyaratanakornkit, J., Galleri, G., Meloni, M. A., . . . Hughes-Fulford, M. (2012). J Leukoc Biol (Vol. 92, pp. 1133-1145). United States.