Monday, June 26, 2017
Proteomics of mice in space!!
I'm up stupid early in the morning and have to type this reeeal fast, but I'm way to excited to let it wait till I'm home after work, cause it's Miiiiiiiiice iiiiiiiiiiinnnnn Spaaaaaaaaaaace (sounds like this in my head --warning, audio!)
Before I have too much fun with this important study, this is what I'm talking about -- in this month's JPR.
This is important stuff, especially for any of us who grew up under the Asimovian assumptions that humans take the to the stars or our story ends here in our inevitable extinction. Which -- considering that advanced civilizations may receive decades of our television far before our arrival makes it seem less bad now than it did when I was younger. "Hello species that hasn't had war in 1 billion years -- yes...I come from the Tony Danza planet...."
It has always been really really hard to become an astronaut/cosmonaut. This was extremely well publicized here --especially with the Apollo program -- those dudes were the best they could find (of course -- within the time period's sad and systematic biases), and this process hasn't gotten ANY easier (18,000 applicants this year already! Does that make you as happy as it does me?). But...it has also been well publicized how hard the process of being in space is on these extremely fit and conditioned people (great recent review on the topic). If we are going to make it to the stars we're gonna need to be physically ready for it. And we're gonna need a new class of heroes to help us with this, namely Miiiiiiiiice iiiiiiiiiiinnnnn Spaaaaaaaaaaace!!
Sorry...back to serious. They put a bunch of mice in a satellite -- IN SPACE -- FOR A MONTH -- and then studied them directly afterward and during/after recovery. There were, of course, age and gender-matched mice that didn't go to space for control.
A big focus of the study was the skeletal muscle proteomes. The intact proteins from each muscle type were separated in the first dimension by SDS-PAGE and nanoLC was performed on the digested/ extracted peptides. The resulting peptides were desalted online and separated by nanoLC (25cm column) into a quadrupole Kingdon style trap mass spectrometer running a standard Top10 method. For QC, they used the iRT peptides from Biognosys (coincidentally, the company that makes the SpectroNaut software). This might be the first time I've seen that standard used for DDA experiments, and it sounds like a great use for it! The samples were randomized(!!) because if you're going to pay to put mice in outer space, you had better do some darned good science on the ground -- and they do!
The data was all processed with MaxQuant using LFQ and "match between runs" and the Raw and processed data are available at ProteomeXchange here (PXD005035).
I've got to run and I don't want to spoil the surprises -- but they find some serious cool stuff regarding how mammalian muscles respond to a month(!) in space and suggest key pathways we might be able to target to mitigate these effects.
Yes -- this post allowed me to be silly this morning -- but, make no mistake this is a really nice study performed by a top-notch team on a topic I think is very important and I can't recommend this paper more.