Researchers have examined the response of a bacterium to four simulated conditions that represent the near-surface of Mars. In previous experiments, the Gram-negative α-proteobacterium Serratia liquefaciens strain ATCC 27592 was able to grow under simulated Mars conditions (low temperature and pressure; and anoxic, CO2-dominated atmospheric conditions). In the new experiments, the team performed transcriptome analyses on cultures of Serratia liquefaciens and identified up-regulated genes under each scenario examined (low temperature, low pressure, CO2-enriched anoxic atmosphere, and a laboratory control). The paper includes a discussion of the implications of the results for astrobiology and planetary protection.

The study, “Transcriptomic responses of Serratia liquefaciens cells grown under simulated Martian conditions of low temperature, low pressure, and CO2-enriched anoxic atmosphere,” was published in the journal Nature: Scientific Reports. The research was supported by a grant from NASA Planetary Protection.