The immune system is an important regulatory mechanism
affected by space flight. As plan for long-term missions continue
to develop, alterations of immunity could seriously impair the ability
of the host to deal with infections. Up to now, research has mainly
focused on innate immunity and T cell responses, whereas B cell-mediated
responses have been almost unexplored.
During B cell development, the antibody repertoire is created by the assembly
of many V genes, D (only for the heavy chains) and J segments. This process is
mediated by the V(D)J recombination machinery.
The experiment will analyze the V(D)J recombination products obtained when P.
waltl developed in space. Embryos will be allowed to develop during 10 days
of spaceflight in EADS Mini-Aquaria, either in microgravity or on a 1g control
centrifuge. Postflight animals will be sacrificed either immediately on recovery,
1 month or 6 months postlflight. The vestibulo ocular reflex of the tadpoles
will also be measured, along with the properties of otoconia.