Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Degree

Fall 2014

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Microbiology

First Advisor

Alexander R. Horswill

Abstract

Two-component systems (TCSs) are highly conserved across bacteria and are used to rapidly sense and respond to changing environmental conditions. The human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus uses the S. aureus exoprotein expression (sae) TCS to sense host signals and activate transcription of virulence factors essential to pathogenesis. Despite its importance, the mechanism by which the sae sensor kinase SaeS recognizes specific host stimuli is unknown. This thesis describes topology and mutagenesis studies of the sensing domain of SaeS, including basal expression and inducer-dependent phenotypes. Meanwhile, investigation of the sae auxiliary protein SaeP has identified a novel DNA binding function for this surface expressed lipoprotein that may be involved in fine-tuning the activity of the sae system. Overall, these structure-function studies provide insight into the sae signal transduction mechanism and raise some new questions regarding the role the sae system plays in the larger regulatory network S. aureus uses to control expression of its secreted virulence factors.

Keywords

sae, SaeP, SaeS, signal transduction, Staphylococcous aureus, two-component system

Pages

xviii, 217 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 207-217).

Comments

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Copyright

Copyright © 2014 Caralyn E. Flack

Included in

Microbiology Commons

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