Expression Profile of Cell Cycle-Related Genes in Human Fibroblasts Exposed Simultaneously to Radiation and Simulated Microgravity

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Sep 26;20(19):4791. doi: 10.3390/ijms20194791.


Multiple unique environmental factors such as space radiation and microgravity (μG) pose a serious threat to human gene stability during space travel. Recently, we reported that simultaneous exposure of human fibroblasts to simulated μG and radiation results in more chromosomal aberrations than in cells exposed to radiation alone. However, the mechanisms behind this remain unknown. The purpose of this study was thus to obtain comprehensive data on gene expression using a three-dimensional clinostat synchronized to a carbon (C)-ion or X-ray irradiation system. Human fibroblasts (1BR-hTERT) were maintained under standing or rotating conditions for 3 or 24 h after synchronized C-ion or X-ray irradiation at 1 Gy as part of a total culture time of 2 days. Among 57,773 genes analyzed with RNA sequencing, we focused particularly on the expression of 82 cell cycle-related genes after exposure to the radiation and simulated μG. The expression of cell cycle-suppressing genes (ABL1 and CDKN1A) decreased and that of cell cycle-promoting genes (CCNB1, CCND1, KPNA2, MCM4, MKI67, and STMN1) increased after C-ion irradiation under μG. The cell may pass through the G1/S and G2 checkpoints with DNA damage due to the combined effects of C-ions and μG, suggesting that increased genomic instability might occur in space.

Keywords: cell cycle; combined effects; gene expression; radiation; simulated microgravity.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics*
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism*
  • Fibroblasts / radiation effects*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Radiation, Nonionizing*
  • Transcriptome*
  • Weightlessness*


  • Cell Cycle Proteins