Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Integrative Biology (MSIB)



Committee Chair/First Advisor

Jonathan McMurry

Major Professor

Melanie Griffin

Second Committee Member

Christopher Cornelison


Cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) are biomolecular vehicles or systems that mediate the delivery of proteins into different cell lines. Since their discovery in the late 1980s, the CPP delivery system has primarily been explored in different types of mammalian cells. The technology has demonstrated promise in providing itself as an alternative delivery mechanism to transport biomolecules into different mammalian cell lines. CPPs have previously been shown to penetrate the cell membranes of fungi and bacteria, however, CPP mediated delivery of other proteins and biomolecules into these two microorganisms have yet to be explored. In this thesis project, this phenomenon is explored using the CPP TAT-CaM in both non-pathogenic and pathogenic strains of fungal and bacterial cell lines. In this study, it was demonstrated that the CPP TAT-CaM is nontoxic to all cell lines used with a viability of over seventy-five percent. It was also demonstrated through fluorescence and confocal analysis that the CPP TAT-CaM penetrates the cell membranes of all organisms studied and mediated protein myoglobin delivery. This project is the first to demonstrate CPP mediated biomolecular delivery into fungal and bacterial cell lines. The use of CPPs in fungal and bacterial cells are advantageous to biomedical research since they provide another option of treating and delivering proteins into these two microorganisms. The goal of this study was to highlight the use of CPPs in two new systems and to demonstrate that the technology may be applied to microorganisms and serve a beneficial purpose as they have demonstrated in mammalian cell lines for years. Following the success of this study, we seek to increase the biomolecular diversity of TAT-CaM delivery into fungi and bacteria. Through the integration of histological and microbiological techniques, this research project impacts the fields of pharmacology by providing a new method of treatment that can improve and impact public health and epidemiology.

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