Affordable Access

Publisher Website

Mutation Analysis of the rpoB Gene in the Radiation-Resistant Bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans R1 Exposed to Space during the Tanpopo Experiment at the International Space Station.

  • Fujiwara, Daisuke1
  • Kawaguchi, Yuko1
  • Kinoshita, Iori1
  • Yatabe, Jun1
  • Narumi, Issay2
  • Hashimoto, Hirofumi3
  • Yokobori, Shin-Ichi1
  • Yamagishi, Akihiko1, 3
  • 1 School of Life Sciences, Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Sciences, Hachioji, Tokyo, Japan. , (Japan)
  • 2 Faculty of Life Sciences, Toyo University, Itakura, Gunma, Japan. , (Japan)
  • 3 Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan. , (Japan)
Published Article
Mary Ann Liebert
Publication Date
Oct 22, 2021
DOI: 10.1089/ast.2020.2424
PMID: 34694920


To investigate microbial viability and DNA damage, dried cell pellets of the radiation-resistant bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans were exposed to various space environmental conditions at the Exposure Facility of the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the Tanpopo mission. Mutation analysis was done by sequencing the rpoB gene encoding RNA polymerase β-subunit of the rifampicin-resistant mutants. Samples included bacteria exposed to the space environment with and without exposure to UV radiation as well as control samples held in the ISS cabin and at ground. The mutation sites of the rpoB gene obtained from the space-exposed and ISS/ground control samples were similar to the rpoB mutation sites previously reported in D. radiodurans. Most mutations were found at or near the rifampicin binding site in the RNA polymerase β-subunit. Mutation sites found in UV-exposed samples were mostly shared with non-exposed and ISS/ground control samples. These results suggest that most mutations found in our experiments were induced during procedures that were applied across all treatments: preparation, transfer from our laboratory to the ISS, return from the ISS, and storage before analysis. Some mutations may be enhanced by specific factors in the space experiments, but the mutations were also found in the spontaneous and control samples. Our experiment suggests that the dried cells of the microorganism D. radiodurans can travel without space-specific deterioration that may induce excess mutations relative to travel at Earth's surface. However, upon arrival at a recipient location, they must still be able to survive and repair the general damage induced during travel.

Report this publication


Seen <100 times