Conjugation-mediated plasmid exchange between bacteria grown under space flight conditions

Patrick De Boever, Max Mergeay, V. Ilyin, D. Forget-Hanus, G. Van der Auwera, G. Mahillon

    Research outputpeer-review


    Mobile genetic elements (MGEs) such as phages, plasmids and transposons, play a crucial role in bacterial adaptation and evolution. These MGEs mobilise and reorganize genes within a given genome or between bacterial cells. The impact of space flight conditions on these processes is largely unknown. The Mobilisatsia/Plasmida experiment was set up to invesitgate the impact of space flight on plasmid-mediated conjugation. One experimen was performed with the gram positive Bacillus thuringensis strains and a second experiment was caried out with the gram negative Eschericia coli and Cupriavidus metallidurans strains. It was observed that plasmid exchange between the gram positive bacterial strains occurred in space flgiht more efficient than in the ground control experiment. No significant differences could be observed between space flight and ground control experiment for the gram negative bacteria. These data indicate that plasmid exchange between microorganisms is occuring during space flight conditions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)138-144
    JournalMicrogravity - Science and Technology
    Issue number5/6
    StatePublished - 1 Sep 2007

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