Blue Bear’s tips for surviving space travel

There is no animal on earth tougher than the little Tardigrade; A creature that can survive at a temperature of minus 272 degrees Celsius or in the pure vacuum of outer space! This animal can even be exposed to X-rays 500 times more than the level that kills humans and survive easily!

BingMag.com Blue Bear’s tips for surviving space travel

There is no animal on earth tougher than the little Tardigrade; A creature that can survive at a temperature of minus 272 degrees Celsius or in the pure vacuum of outer space! This animal can even be exposed to X-rays 500 times more than the level that kills humans and survive easily!

In other words, tardigrades can withstand conditions that do not even exist on Earth. Naturally, this otherworldly flexibility, along with their lovely and somewhat amusing appearance, has made these creatures a favorite among animal lovers. At the same time, it is interesting to know that by investigating and digging more into these microscopic animals, which are the size of a mite, they can understand how to prepare humans and crops to cope with the harsh conditions of space travel.

blue bear; The toughest creature on earth!

It may sound surprising, but the tardigrade's immortality comes from its adaptation to its environment! In fact, this lovely creature lives in seemingly innocuous places, such as the cool and moist masses of moss scattered on the garden wall. Due to this habitat and the fluffy appearance of these creatures, some people call tardigrades blue bears or moss pigs.

BingMag.com Blue Bear’s tips for surviving space travel

A sample of tardigrade known as blue bear or moss pig

But with climate changes, the habitat of tardigrades can dry up several times a year and as probably You know that the drying of the environment is very disastrous for most living organisms that live in humid environments. In general, drought can damage the cells of living organisms such as freezing, vacuum and radiation. For an organism, desiccation is an event that results in high levels of peroxides and other reactive oxygen species; In such a case, these toxic molecules break the DNA of the cell into short pieces (just like radiation)! sensitive proteins and render them useless like crumpled paper airplanes. In the meantime, tardigrades have special strategies to deal with this type of damage!

Protein folding is a process during which a protein chain is converted to its original three-dimensional structure, in this case, the protein in terms of It becomes biologically applicable.

As the tardigrade dries up, its cells secrete several strange proteins that are unlike anything found in other animals! Proteins are in a loose and amorphous state in water, but as water disappears, proteins spontaneously become criss-crossed fibers that fill the interior of the cell. In fact, like a peanut in a hard shell, cross fibers support membranes and proteins and prevent them from breaking or opening.

BingMag.com Blue Bear’s tips for surviving space travel

When a tardigrade loses water or dries out, its cells make cross-linked proteins (visible in the image) that protect its cell membranes.

Damage suppressor protein and its role in human resistance

Besides this case, it is interesting to know that at least two species of tardigrades produce another protein that is not found in any other animal on earth. Can't! This protein, abbreviated as "Dsup" or damage suppressor, has the ability to bind to DNA and possibly physically protect it from active forms of oxygen molecules.

According to what has been presented so far, imitation of the blue bear in the future can help humans to survive in outer space. Besides, you can produce tardigrade proteins by engineering food products, yeast and insects! In such a case, food crops, insects, etc., can grow more easily and efficiently in spaceships where radiation levels are much higher than on Earth! In this regard, it is interesting to know that researchers have already inserted the gene of Dsup protein into human cells in the laboratory and the result was really amazing! Many of those modified cells could survive high levels of X-rays or peroxide chemicals that kill normal cells.

Also, when the Dsup gene was introduced into tobacco plants (a model test is considered for food products), was applied. The result of this work showed that this protein protects plants against exposure to a DNA-damaging chemical called ethyl methanesulfonate. In general, plants with the extra gene grew faster than plants without the gene, and the DNA of those with Dsup to They were added, less damaged by UV exposure!

BingMag.com Blue Bear’s tips for surviving space travel

Microscopic tardigrades can withstand freezing cold, desiccation, and high levels of radiation thanks to unique molecular adaptations!

Water Bear and Future Achievements

During the research conducted in this field, the proteins of tardigrades have shown the first signs of protecting humans. Because researchers reported on March 18 this year that when they modified cells to produce these proteins, human cells became resistant to camptothecin, which is a lethal agent for cells! In fact, during this process, tardigrade proteins did this by inhibiting apoptosis; This means that they execute a program for cellular self-destruction, which is often triggered by exposure to harmful chemicals or radiation. So, if researchers succeed in achieving the pinnacle of extraterrestrial cellular resistance, they may owe some credit to the polar bear, because they did it by standing on the tiny shoulders of your backyard polar bear! /p>

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Main sources:

Natural and designed proteins inspired by extremotolerant organisms can form condensates and attenuate apoptosis in human cells
Desiccation-induced fibrous condensation of CAHS protein from an anhydrobiotic tardigrade
Expression of a tardigrade Dsup gene enhances genome protection in plants
Extremotolerant tardigrade genome and improved radiotolerance of human cultured cells by tardigrade-unique protein
Two Novel Heat-Soluble Protein Families Abundantly Expressed in an Anhydrobiotic Tardigrade

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