Temporal RNA Integrity Analysis of Archived Spaceflight Biological Samples

Elizabeth Delgadillo Talburt, Alison J French, Danielle K Lopez, San-Huei Lai Polo, Valery Boyko, Marie T Dinh, Jon C Rask, Kaushik Chakravarty, Helen J Stewart


In spaceflight experiments, model organisms are used to assess the effects of microgravity on specific biological systems. In many cases, only one biological system is of interest to the Principal Investigator. To maximize the scientific return of experiments, the remaining spaceflight tissue is categorized, documented, and stored in the biobank at NASA Ames Research Center, which is maintained by the Ames Life Science Data Archive (ALSDA). The purpose of this study is to evaluate the state of a sample set of tissues from the ALSDA biobank. Garnering information – such as downstream functional analysis for the generation of omics datasets – from tissues is, in part, dependent on the state of sample preservation. RNA integrity number (RIN) values were calculated for rodent liver tissues that were part of scientific payloads returned from the International Space Station. Rat livers from Spacelab Life Sciences 1 (SLS-1) and mouse livers from Commercial Biomedical Test Module 3 (CBTM-3), Rodent Research 1 (RR1), and Rodent Research 3 (RR3) were tested. It was found that mean RIN values from CBTM-3, RR1, and RR3 were suitable for downstream functional analysis (RIN > 5) while the mean RIN value for SLS-1 was not (RIN = 2.5 ± 0.1). Information from this study lays the foundation for future efforts in determining the types of assays that are most appropriate for different tissues in the ALSDA biobank and similar preservation facilities, which would aid in shaping the design of experiments.


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