Project: Oocytes under microgravity
Usually, we deliver to any location in Europe or US, but this was a really special case.
Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts University of Bern, Switzerland
RX20 – CEMIOS (Electrophysiological study investigating cellular effects of weightlessness induced oocyte samples)
Launch Date: TBD 2016
Link to Homepage: Cemios
Prolonged exposure to microgravity has several severe effects on physiology. Muscle wasting (atrophy) and loss in bone density are among the well-known adaptation processes observed in human space flight. Extensive research demonstrated that cells have multiple mechanisms to detect external mechanical forces. However, the exact mechanism by means of which cells can detect gravity are still unknown. Previous studies have shown, that mechanosensitive ion channels could be among the key players.
In this project, the effect of microgravity on a mechanosensitive ion channel shall be studied aboard a sounding rocket. The ion channel of interest will be overexpressed in 6 frog eggs (oocytes) from the Xenopus Leavis.
In electrophysiological measurements, the voltage dependent ion current across an electrically isolated patch of the oocyte’s cell membrane shall be determined under microgravity conditions. Ions will not only flow through the channels of interest, creating an undesired background signal. By applying drugs specifically blocking the channel of interest, the background signal can be determined. Such electrophysiological measurements have not been done before aboard a sounding rocket. Therefore, this experiment shall also demonstrate the feasibility of such experiments.