Date of Award

2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Dr.Kalai Mathee

Second Advisor

Dr.John Makemson

Third Advisor

Dr.Walter Goldberg

Abstract

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen found in a wide variety of environments. It is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in cystic fibrosis patients, and one of the main sources of nosocomial infections in the United States. One of the most prominent features of this pathogen is its wide resistance to antibiotics. P. aeruginosa employs a variety of mechanisms including efflux pumps and the expression of B-lactamases to overcome antibiotic treatment. Two chromosomally encoded lactamases, ampC and poxB, have been identified in P. aeruginosa. Sequence analyses have shown the presence of a two-component system (TCS) called MifSR (MifS-Sensor and MifR-Response Regulator), immediately upstream of the poxAB operon. It is hypothesized that the MifSR TCS is involved in B-lactam resistance via the regulation of poxB. Recently, the response regulator MifR has been reported to play a crucial role in biofilm formation, a major characteristic of chronic infections and increased antibiotic resistance. In this study, mifR and mifSR deletion mutants were constructed, and compared to the wild type parent strain PAOl for differences in growth and B-lactam sensitivity. Results obtained thus far indicate that mifR and mifSR are not essential for growth, and do not confer B-lactam resistance under the conditions tested. This study is significant because biofilm formation and antibiotic resistance are two hallmarks of P. aeruginosa infections, and finding a link between these two may lead to the development of improved treatment strategies.

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