Date of Award

7-25-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Integrative Biology (MSIB)

Department

Biology

First Committee Member

Dr. Melanie Griffin

Second Committee Member

Dr. Donald McGarey

Third Committee Member

Dr. Carol Chrestensen

Abstract

Nutrient acquisition is critical to survival and infection by the opportunistic bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This pathogen expresses a number of virulence factors that are a part of the starvation response and are important in host-pathogen interactions. Additionally, P. aeruginosa is resistant to a large number of antibiotics and has become difficult to treat once it has colonized a tissue. New pharmaceutical treatments are sought while the metabolism of this organism must be fully understood to select new targets for therapy. The leucine- responsive regulatory protein (Lrp) could be a promising target for treatment. The ortholog in Escherichia coli is a global regulator of metabolism and regulates many genes related to amino acid degradation, transport and synthesis. There are structural and functional similarities that indicate that Lrp in both species plays a similar role. In this study, the role of Lrp in P. aeruginosa was investigated using a microbial and molecular approach to determine if Lrp regulates more genes than the published single operon, dadRAX. The results of this study suggest that Lrp plays a role in regulating important virulence factors and growth patterns in both nutrient-rich and nutrient-poor media, and thus may act as a global regulator in the metabolism of P. aeruginosa.

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