Bacterium on International Space Station Developing Drug Resistance | Newsroom

Acinetobacter pittii (A. pittii), A type of bacteria is becoming more resistant to antibiotics and finding ways to survive the harsh environment of the International Space Station, according to new research led by Weill Cornell Medicine scientists.

“Study of bacteria found on the space station and their resistance to antimicrobial drugs is important for astronaut health,” said principal investigator Dr. Christopher E. Mason, professor of physiology and biophysics and co-director of Weill’s WorldQuant Initiative for Quantitative Prediction. Col. Medicine. its results A. Pitti Published December 12 in Microbiome.

ISS crew members have limited diagnostic equipment and treatment options in space, he said. Understanding how microbes evolve and how those changes can affect antibiotic resistance could inform what kind of drugs astronauts need to carry on short-term missions as well as possible long-term missions to the Moon and Mars, Dr. Mason said.

Using genome sequencing—or the evaluation of the complete set of genetic instructions that enable an organism to function—and laboratory analysis, Dr. Mason and his colleagues studied A. Pitti That was recently Collected from the surface of the ISS interior during two NASA microbial-monitoring missions. These bacteria, usually studied in a hospital setting, tend to be multi-drug resistant and can be life-threatening in immunocompromised people.

The researchers compared 20 genomes of the ISS A. Pitti 291 genomes from A. Pitti Collected on earth. They found that the ISS A. Pitti Antimicrobials were more resistant to cephalosporins, despite the lack of specific genetic changes associated with drug resistance. “The Earth and ISS genomes look genetically similar,” Dr. Mason said. “But surprisingly, the ISS bacterium has a distinct set of physical properties, leading to resistance that needs further study.”

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The researchers also evaluated 402 samples of microbial genetic material collected from the ISS environment, including surface and crew members, and observed that A. Pitti Ways to survive in the harsh environment of space were growing and developing. Researchers found the ISS A. Pitti Contains the lexA gene, a transcription regulator that represses or turns off other genes. “We think the large amount of radiation in space could be causing this change,” said Dr. Mason, who co-founded Biotia and OneJV Health..

Dr. Mason and his colleagues continue to analyze bacteria from the ISS and study biological samples from astronauts participating in commercial SpaceX flights. Dr. Mason is contributing to a National Academy of Sciences report to Congress on space-related research and how space stations can be reservoirs for microbes.

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“These ISS bacteria may not have been exposed to antibiotics, yet they appear to be more resistant,” said first author Dr. Braden Tierney, a postdoctoral associate in computational biomedicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. “This indicates how anthropological our view of antimicrobial resistance really is; We define this in terms of exposure to antibiotics, but there are actually many mechanisms by which this can occur. It makes you wonder: If there are so many ways that an environment can be made resistant to a bug, are there any ways we haven’t thought of yet that could be used to reduce said resistance?”

“The bottom line is, space is a different kind of environment, so we’re seeing a different path of evolution in microbes,” Dr. Mason said.


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