Microgravity induces proteomics changes involved in endoplasmic reticulum stress and mitochondrial protection.


On Earth, biological systems have evolved in response to environmental stressors, interactions dictated by physical forces that include gravity. The absence of gravity is an extreme stressor and the impact of its absence on biological systems is ill-defined. Astronauts who have spent extended time under conditions of minimal gravity (microgravity) experience an array of biological alterations, including perturbations in cardiovascular function. We hypothesized that physiological perturbations in cardiac function in microgravity may be a consequence of alterations in molecular and organellar dynamics within the cellular milieu of cardiomyocytes. We used a combination of mass spectrometry-based approaches to compare the relative abundance and turnover rates of 848 and 196 proteins, respectively, in rat neonatal cardiomyocytes exposed to simulated microgravity or normal gravity. Gene functional enrichment analysis of these data suggested that the protein content and function of the mitochondria, ribosomes, and endoplasmic reticulum were differentially modulated in microgravity. We confirmed experimentally that in microgravity protein synthesis was decreased while apoptosis, cell viability, and protein degradation were largely unaffected. These data support our conclusion that in microgravity cardiomyocytes attempt to maintain mitochondrial homeostasis at the expense of protein synthesis. The overall response to this stress may culminate in cardiac muscle atrophy.





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Publication Info

Feger, Bryan J, J Will Thompson, Laura G Dubois, Reddy P Kommaddi, Matthew W Foster, Rajashree Mishra, Sudha K Shenoy, Yoichiro Shibata, et al. (2016). Microgravity induces proteomics changes involved in endoplasmic reticulum stress and mitochondrial protection. Scientific reports, 6(1). p. 34091. 10.1038/srep34091 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/17823.

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Bryan Feger

Medical Writer, Sr

A scientist with basic and clinical research training, who is passionate about supporting Duke investigators and strengthening research integrity. 


J. Will Thompson

Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Cancer Biology

Dr. Thompson's research focuses on the development and deployment of proteomics and metabolomics mass spectrometry techniques for the analysis of biological systems. He served as the Assistant Director of the Proteomics and Metabolomics Shared Resource in the Duke School of Medicine from 2007-2021. He currently maintains collaborations in metabolomics and proteomics research at Duke, and develops new tools for chemical analysis as a Principal Scientist at 908 Devices in Carrboro, NC.


Matthew Wolf Foster

Associate Professor in Medicine

Sudha Kaup Shenoy

Professor in Medicine

Martin Arthur Moseley

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Cell Biology

Dawn Elizabeth Bowles

Assistant Professor in Surgery

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