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Astrobiology. 2012 Sep;12(9):854-62. doi: 10.1089/ast.2012.0835. Epub 2012 Aug 23.

Insights into the extremotolerance of Acinetobacter radioresistens 50v1, a gram-negative bacterium isolated from the Mars Odyssey spacecraft.

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  • 1California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, California 91768, USA.

Abstract

The microbiology of the spacecraft assembly process is of paramount importance to planetary exploration, as the biological contamination that can result from remote-enabled spacecraft carries the potential to impact both life-detection experiments and extraterrestrial evolution. Accordingly, insights into the mechanisms and range of extremotolerance of Acinetobacter radioresistens 50v1, a Gram-negative bacterium isolated from the surface of the preflight Mars Odyssey orbiter, were gained by using a combination of microbiological, enzymatic, and proteomic methods. In summary, A. radioresistens 50v1 displayed a remarkable range of survival against hydrogen peroxide and the sequential exposures of desiccation, vapor and plasma phase hydrogen peroxide, and ultraviolet irradiation. The survival is among the highest reported for non-spore-forming and Gram-negative bacteria and is based upon contributions from the enzyme-based degradation of H(2)O(2) (catalase and alkyl hydroperoxide reductase), energy management (ATP synthase and alcohol dehydrogenase), and modulation of the membrane composition. Together, the biochemical and survival features of A. radioresistens 50v1 support a potential persistence on Mars (given an unintended or planned surface landing of the Mars Odyssey orbiter), which in turn may compromise the scientific integrity of future life-detection missions.

PMID:
22917036
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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