Effects of Space Environment on Genome, Transcriptome, and Proteome of Klebsiella pneumoniae

Arch Med Res. 2015 Nov;46(8):609-18. doi: 10.1016/j.arcmed.2015.11.001. Epub 2015 Nov 10.


Background and aims: The aim of this study was to explore the effects of space flight on Klebsiella pneumoniae.

Methods: A strain of K. pneumoniae was sent to space for 398 h aboard the ShenZhou VIII spacecraft during November 1, 2011-November 17, 2011. At the same time, a ground simulation with similar temperature conditions during the space flight was performed as a control. After the space mission, the flight and control strains were analyzed using phenotypic, genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic techniques.

Results: The flight strains LCT-KP289 exhibited a higher cotrimoxazole resistance level and changes in metabolism relative to the ground control strain LCT-KP214. After the space flight, 73 SNPs and a plasmid copy number variation were identified in the flight strain. Based on the transcriptomic analysis, there are 232 upregulated and 1879 downregulated genes, of which almost all were for metabolism. Proteomic analysis revealed that there were 57 upregulated and 125 downregulated proteins. These differentially expressed proteins had several functions that included energy production and conversion, carbohydrate transport and metabolism, translation, ribosomal structure and biogenesis, posttranslational modification, protein turnover, and chaperone functions. At a systems biology level, the ytfG gene had a synonymous mutation that resulted in significantly downregulated expression at both transcriptomic and proteomic levels.

Conclusions: The mutation of the ytfG gene may influence fructose and mannose metabolic processes of K. pneumoniae during space flight, which may be beneficial to the field of space microbiology, providing potential therapeutic strategies to combat or prevent infection in astronauts.

Keywords: Genome; Klebsiella pneumoniae; Proteome; Space flight; Transcriptome; ytfG.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA Copy Number Variations / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial
  • Genome, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / drug effects
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / genetics*
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / metabolism*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • NADH, NADPH Oxidoreductases / genetics
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics
  • Proteome / genetics*
  • Proteomics
  • Space Flight*
  • Transcriptome / genetics*
  • Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination / pharmacology


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Proteome
  • Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination
  • NADH, NADPH Oxidoreductases