Modifying astronauts' microbiome may enhance prevention from commensal bacteria caused infections at microgravity condition
By Cihan Tastan
Since in 2020s, astronauts will be expected to build a colony at Mars without return. And in a report named 'Microbial responses to microgravity and other low-shear environments' by Nickerson et al. at 2004, it is stated that Salmonella typhimurium, known for causing food-borne illness, can change its genome to become more virulent after just a few days in space. That's why, modification of astronauts' microbiome gets importance so that infectious diseases might be prevented and antibiotic tolerance might be reduced.
On the other hand, a recent report, named 'Salmonella typhimurium intercepts Escherichia coli signaling to enhance antibiotic tolerance', showed that the intestinal pathogen Salmonella typhimurium increases its antibiotic tolerance in response to the bacterial signaling molecule indole, even though Salmonella typhimurium does not natively produce indole. So that this intestinal pathogen can benefit from indole signaling produced by Escherichia coli and/or other intestinal commensal bacteria.
To conclude, modifying indole pathway of Escherichia coli and/or other commensal bacteria of astronauts with the help of synthetic biology techniques may prevent from intestinal bacteria caused infections caused by microgravity.