Cell Biology - page 3

Microbes alter their metabolism in microgravity and produce an array of products which may have commercial value.  Additionally, in both the analog and microgravity cultures, microbes increase their intrinsic virulence and produce heretofore unseen mechanisms of virulence.  The latter has opened new vistas in vaccine and antibiotic development.  For example, Salmonella exhibits greater virulence in microgravity, which can aid in developing treatments.

The protozoan Cyclospora that causes severe gastrointestinal distress had not been cultured before introduction into analog culture containing small bowel cells.  It was the first time that the entire life cycle of the organism was duplicated in culture.

Indeed, microgravity is a provocative environment for terrestrial life systems.  Cell culture is easily accommodated and offers promising early applications. 

Vitamin D3 Synthesis
3D Tissue
Salmonella Graphs

Salmonella Virulence Changes in Microgravity:  A-Genes affected by microgravity.  B and C-Survival of mice challenged with Salmonella immediately after return from space.  D-Number of organisms required to kill half of the challenged hosts.  E-Microgravity cell culture induces production of aggregates of organism that secrete biofilm matrix.  Wilson et al., 2007, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 104(41):16299-304

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