Impact Factor 3.517 | CiteScore 3.60
More on impact ›

Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Genet. | doi: 10.3389/fgene.2019.00768

The trends in global gene expression in mouse embryonic stem cells during spaceflight

 Haiying Hang1, 2*, Lili An1, Yanming Li3, Yingjun Fan1, 2, Ning He3, 4, Fanlei Ran1, Hongzhu Qu3, Yanqiu Wang5,  Xuetong Zhao2, 3,  Chen Ye1, Yuanda Jiang5 and Xiangdong Fang2, 3*
  • 1Key Laboratory for Protein and Peptide Pharmaceuticals, National Laboratory of Biomacromolecules, Institute of Biophysics (CAS), China
  • 2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
  • 3Key Laboratory of Genome Sciences & Information, Beijing Institute of Genomics (CAS), China
  • 4Sino-Danish College, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
  • 5National Space Science Center (CAS), China

The environment in space differs greatly from the environment on the ground. Spaceflight causes a number of physiological changes in astronauts, such as bone loss and immune system dysregulation. These effects threaten astronauts' space missions, and understanding the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms is important to manage the risks of space missions. The biological effects of spaceflight on mammalian cells, especially with regards to DNA damage, have attracted much attention. Rad9-/- mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) are known to be extremely sensitive to DNA damage agents. In this study, a project of the SJ-10 satellite programme, we investigated the gene expression profiles of both Rad9-/- mESCs and Rad9+/+ (wild-type) mESCs in space with a focus on genes critical for inducing, preventing or repairing genomic DNA lesions. We found that spaceflight downregulated more genes than it upregulated in both wild-type and Rad9-/- mESCs, indicating a suppressive effect of spaceflight on global gene expression. In contrast, Rad9 deletion upregulated more genes than it downregulated. Of note, spaceflight mainly affected organ development and influenced a wide range of cellular functions in mESCs, while Rad9 deletion mainly affected the development and function of the haematological system, especially the development, differentiation and function of immune cells. The patterns of gene expression in mouse embryonic stem cells in space is distinct from those in other types of cells. In addition, both spaceflight and Rad9 deletion downregulated DNA repair genes, suggesting a possibility that spaceflight has negative effects on genome for embryonic stem cells and the effects are likely worsen when the genome maintenance mechanism is defective.

Keywords: spaceflight, RAD9, Mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs), gene expression profile, genomic DNA lesions

Received: 19 Apr 2019; Accepted: 19 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Philipp Kapranov, Huaqiao University, China

Reviewed by:

Chi Chiu Wang, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China
Changning Liu, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (CAS), China  

Copyright: © 2019 Hang, An, Li, Fan, He, Ran, Qu, Wang, Zhao, Ye, Jiang and Fang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Mx. Haiying Hang, Institute of Biophysics (CAS), Key Laboratory for Protein and Peptide Pharmaceuticals, National Laboratory of Biomacromolecules, Beijing, China,
Mx. Xiangdong Fang, Key Laboratory of Genome Sciences & Information, Beijing Institute of Genomics (CAS), Beijing, 100101, China,