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Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (BS)
Department of Integrated Science and Technology
With the rapid emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria affecting people around the world, research into new therapies using bacteriophages (phages) is increasing in the United States. Phages are viruses that can only infect bacteria and are able to co-evolve alongside the bacteria they infect. A researchers’ ability to pinpoint which phage to use in the therapy is important to combat an infection effectively. To do so, the genes that control the interaction between phages and the bacteria they infect, such as receptor binding proteins on the surface of a bacterial cell, need to be identified. Transposon mutagenesis was used in our study to find the receptor binding protein of Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki (Btk). Btk was chosen as the bacterial host because it is a naturally occurring soil bacteria that is commonly used as an insecticide in agriculture, but is nonpathogenic to humans. The bacterium is also a close relative to Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, and may share some phages. Using the EZ-Tn5TM Tnp transposon kit, 134 individual mutant colonies were isolated on kanamycin plates. Virulent bacteriophage Riley, a well-characterized phage infecting BtK, was used to find phage-resistant bacteria in the mutant population. Three mutants, 1041, 1043, and 1221, were found to be resistant to bacteriophage Riley and will be further studied to determine the interrupted gene.
Carson, Rachel, "Identifying a B. thuringiensis var. kurstaki Receptor Binding Protein for Bacteriophage Riley" (2018). Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current. 520.