Invertase enzyme biochemichal reaction experiment in microgravity

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MELO, M. A. A.
62nd International Astronautical Congress 2011, IAC 2011
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LA NEVE, A.; BELLODI, M.; MELO, M. A. A.; FERREIRA, M.; PEREIRA, A. N.; LUCARINI, A. C. Invertase enzyme biochemichal reaction experiment in microgravity. 62nd International Astronautical Congress 2011, IAC 2011, v. 1, p. 672-680, oct. 2011.
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This experiment investigates enzyme kinetics, in microgravity, which is essential to understand the mechanism of enzyme actions inside and outside cells. This knowledge is fundamental for the study of cell metabolism, for the design of new drugs and industrial enzyme bioreactors. Many cellular processes are modified when cells are exposed to microgravity conditions. The enzymatic biochemical reaction experiment in microgravity was embedded on a VSB-30 Brazilian sounding rocket, launched from Alcantara, Brazil, on December, 12 th, 2010. To realize this experiment the equipment DMLM III was developed ,which is responsible for mixing three liquids in microgravity, and it consists of a mechanical part, with 10 sets of reaction systems, embedded electronics with microcontroller, that is responsible for the system control, step motor driving, monitoring and data acquisition of some variables, among other functions. DMLM III is an evolution over previous versions, which flew on other Brazilian missions. The mechanical part consists of 2 blocks, each one with 5 sets of valves and interconnected chambers, to allow that the enzyme samples react with a substrate, at a certain concentration. These sets consist of 3 chambers and 2 valves that separate the liquids before the contact. The enzyme, the substrate and the inhibitor reactor are loaded in different chambers of each set. Once the microgravity signal is triggered, the first valve of each set is driven open by a step motor system, which powers the entire valve assembly through a transmission lever. The biochemical reaction starts when the enzyme and the substrate get in contact. After a period of 5 minutes, the second set of valves is also driven open by another step motor, which puts the enzyme and substrate mixture in contact with the reactor inhibitor in order to stop the biochemical reaction. During the experiment, the DMLM III internal temperature and other data are periodically read, stored in the internal memory, and, as a redundancy, transmitted by telemetry. The launching and rescue of the payload were successful. The biochemical analyses of the samples are being performed, after the experiment return to Earth. The results will be compared with the data obtained on Earth, under similar conditions, on the attempt to identify the different aspects of microgravity that have some influence on the enzyme reaction. It is expected that techno-scientific knowledge may be produced, which may help to elucidate some issues on bio reaction mechanisms, and stability of enzymes, among others. Copyright ©2010 by the International Astonautical Federation. All rights reserved.