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Iron Ladies – How Desiccated Asexual Rotifer Adineta vaga Deal With X-Rays and Heavy Ions?

  • Space exposure experiments from the last 15 years have unexpectedly shown that several terrestrial organisms, including some multi-cellular species, are able to survive in open space without protection. The robustness of bdelloid rotifers suggests that these tiny creatures can possibly be added to the still restricted list of animals that can deal with the exposure to harsh condition of space. Bdelloids are one of the smallest animals on Earth. Living all over the world, mostly in semi-terrestrial environments, they appear to be extremely stress tolerant. Their desiccation tolerance at any stage of their life cycle is known to confer tolerance to a variety of stresses including high doses of radiation and freezing. In addition, they constitute a major scandal in evolutionary biology due to the putative absence of sexual reproduction for at least 60 million years. Adineta vaga, with its unique characteristics and a draft genome available, was selected by ESA (European Space Agency) as a model system to study extreme resistance of organisms exposed to space environment. In this manuscript, we documented the resistance of desiccated A. vaga individuals exposed to increasing doses of X-ray, protons and Fe ions. Consequences of exposure to different sources of radiation were investigated in regard to the cellular type including somatic (survival assay) and germinal cells (fertility assay). Then, the capacity of A. vaga individuals to repair DNA DSB induced by different source of radiation was investigated. Bdelloid rotifers represent a promising model in order to investigate damage induced by high or low LET radiation. The possibility of exposure both on hydrated or desiccated specimens may help to decipher contribution of direct and indirect radiation damage on biological processes. Results achieved through this study consolidate our knowledge about the radioresistance of A. vaga and improve our capacity to compare extreme resistance against radiation among living organisms including metazoan.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Boris Hespeels, Sébastien Penninckx, Valérie Cornet, Lucie Bruneau, Cécile Bopp, Véronique Baumlé, Baptiste Redivo, Anne-Catherine Heuskin, Ralf Moeller, Akira Fujimori, Stephane Lucas, Karine van Doninck
Parent Title (English):Frontiers in Microbiology
Article Number:1792
Number of pages:14
Publisher:Frontiers Media
Place of publication:Lausanne
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
Date of first publication:2020/07/31
Copyright:Copyright © 2020 Hespeels, Penninckx, Cornet, Bruneau, Bopp, Baumlé, Redivo, Heuskin, Moeller, Fujimori, Lucas and Van Doninck. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).
Funding Information:The authors were supported by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO) in the framework of the PRODEX Programme. Fe radiation was part of STARLIFE astrobiology inter-comparison experiments at HIMAC (led by RM). STARLIFE was supported by the MEXT Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas "Living in Space" (Grant Numbers: 15H05935 and 15K21745). RM was supported by the DLR grant FuE-Projekt "ISS LIFE" (Programm RF-FuW, TP 475). SP was funded by the Walloon Region (PROTHERWAL, grant no 7289).
Keyword:DNA damage; LET; astrobiology; bdelloid rotifer; extremophile; panspermia
Departments, institutes and facilities:Fachbereich Angewandte Naturwissenschaften
Institut für funktionale Gen-Analytik (IFGA)
Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC):5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Entry in this database:2020/08/20
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International