Sunday 12 January 2014

Spaceflight and microbial pathogens: possible drug resistance

At Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute, Cheryl Nickerson and her team have been investigating the intriguing effects of spaceflight on microbial pathogens. Specifically the team reports their recent work examining spaceflight-induced responses in, and infectious disease potential of, the fungal pathogen, Candida albicans.

The new study reports the differential regulation of 452 genes in spaceflight-cultured C. albicans, compared to fungal cells cultured under otherwise identical ground-based conditions. The expression of a wide variety of functionally diverse gene families was altered, including those regulating cell aggregation and budding, biofilm formation and resistance to pathogenesis-related stresses and antifungal drugs.

Therefore, the pathogen in its transformed state poses a significant infectious disease risk.

For further details, refer to the following paper:

Aurélie Crabbé et al. Spaceflight Enhances Cell Aggregation and Random Budding in Candida albicans. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (12): e80677 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0080677

Posted by Tim Sandle

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