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Space Environment Significantly Altered Metabolism in Tobramycin-resistant Mutagenesis of Escherichia coli Strain


This study aimed to investigate the differences in the effects of spaceflight and ground environment on the metabolites of the tobramycin-resistant mutant strain of Escherichia coli (T1_13). A spaceflight-exposed tobramycin-resistant Escherichia coli strain (T1_13) in outer space for 64 days was labeled as the ST5, and the ground test group (GT5) was cultivated under the same conditions except for spaceflight. The metabolites in culture supernatant and precipitate of the ST5 and GT5 were identified by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC–MS). Compared with the GT5, a total of 83 different metabolites were identified in the supernatant of the ST5 (p < 0.05, FC ≥ 2 or p ≤ 0.5, VIP > 1), and 80 different metabolites were additionally identified in the precipitate of the ST5 (p < 0.05, FC ≥ 2 or p ≤ 0.5, VIP > 1). The results showed that spaceflight had a significant impact on different metabolic pathways. KEGG enrichment analysis indicated that the significantly enriched in the supernatant (S) were nicotinate and nicotinamide metabolism, aminobenzoate degradation, ABC transporters, metabolic pathways, and microbial metabolism in diverse environments. In addition, in the precipitate (C), toluene degradation, glycine, serine and threonine metabolism, pentose and glucuronate interconversions, cysteine and methionine metabolism, benzoate degradation, aminobenzoate degradation, microbial metabolism in diverse environments, 2-Oxocarboxylic acid metabolism and degradation of aromatic compounds were significantly enriched. Exploring metabolism characters of Escherichia coli would be helpful to further understand the physiological characteristics of tobramycin-resistant mutagenesis of Escherichia coli in outer space. This research will provide a basis for astronaut safety during spaceflight exposed to pathogenic bacteria.

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This study was supported by funding from Chinese PLA General Hospital Youth Project (DC; No. QNF19074), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (SQ2021YFC2300197), and Beijing Nova Program Interdisciplinary Cooperation Project (DC; No. Z191100001119021).

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Correspondence to Changting Liu or De Chang.

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None of the co-authors reports any conflict of interest.

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The authors declare that there are no competing interests.

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Xiaolei Su and Guangming Lu contributed equally.

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Su, X., Lu, G., Zhou, X. et al. Space Environment Significantly Altered Metabolism in Tobramycin-resistant Mutagenesis of Escherichia coli Strain. Microgravity Sci. Technol. 34, 28 (2022).

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  • Space environment
  • Tobramycin-resistant
  • Escherichia coli
  • Metabolism