ASGSB 2003 Annual Meeting Abstracts


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THE USE OF PHAGE-BASED BIOREPORTERS IN DETERMINING PHAGE-RESISTANCE.  Christina Samplaski1, Kathleen Daumer, MS2. 1Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon, Wisconsin 53097 2Dynamac Corporation, Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899

   Microbes pose many health threats to astronauts in the spaceflight environment.  These threats affect diverse areas and are difficult to diagnose and treat because of the limited knowledge about them.  Due to limited space aboard both the International Space Station (ISS) and orbiters, it is necessary that scientists and engineers collaborate to produce a versatile, accurate, and inexpensive system to detect and monitor microbial activity in the space environment.  Bioreporter organisms have been developed for this purpose.  Bioluminescent bioreporters are living, fully functional microbial cells which have been genetically engineered to contain the lux gene cassette, which causes these organisms to emit a visible light in response to certain bacterial species in their environment.  A bacteriophage is responsible for infecting the bacteria with a gene required for a bioluminescent response. Bacterial resistance to the bacteriophage will result in an inability of the phage to infect the bacteria and causing no light to be emitted by the bioreporter organisms.  Several types of pathogenic bacterial species have been consistently recovered from various space shuttles after their missions. These include:  Escherichi. coli, Pseudomonas aergonisa, Salmonella cholerasis, and Staphylococcus aureus.  This study examined whether any of the bacterial strains recovered from the spaceflight environment were resistance to bacteriophage.  Bacterial resistance to bacteriophage infection has not been found among these bacterial species.

(Supported by NASA’s 2003 Spaceflight and Life Sciences Training Program)

 

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