Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Dr. M. Alejandro Barbieri

Abstract

The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) complex is an extensively studied cluster of genes with immunoregulatory function. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is capable of infecting individuals with weakened immune systems, and is associated with a high mortality rate. Previous genetic studies of the HLA region have found correlations between bacterial infection and its effect on regulating HLA gene expressions to establish their infection. This project analyzes the expression of classical HLA loci (A, B, C, DR, DQ, DP) in human B cells and macrophage cells during the infection of virulent strains of P. aeruginosa. Cells were cultured and infected with different virulent live, and heat-killed strains of P. aeruginosa for different time periods. The mRNA was extracted and converted into cDNA followed by real-time quantitative PCR and data analysis. The Western Blot technique was used to identify the targeted protein’s cell surface expression. Infection with P. aeruginosa was found to inhibit the expression of HLA proteins. The PA14 strain inhibited expression of all targeted genes in all experiments. Infections with PA01 and PA103 showed different patterns depending on the incubation time and the targeted gene. These differences suggest that the three strains use various mechanisms to inhibit HLA protein expression.

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