Staphylococcal and Streptococcal Biotechnology: Utilization of Bacterial Tools to Advance Preclinical Research and Healthcare
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
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Existing within microcosms of their own making, bacteria sculpt the surrounding environment by responding to the current climate or altering their habitat for protection and survival. The net effect of the bacterium’s actions can either be beneficial or detrimental, and the outcome depends on the factors that make up each individual host-microbe interaction. In this dissertation, we discover some of the factors that play a role in bacteria’s environmental adaptation and then, take an unconventional look at a bacterial protein typically used to interact with, invade, and evade the host system. Furthermore, we focus on how this uncovered knowledge can be functionally applied to future scientific pursuits. In Chapter 1, the pathogenesis and virulence of Staphylococcus aureus and three Streptococcus spp. are discussed, followed by a review of their contributions to aiding research endeavors and improving healthcare. Chapter 2 explores the mechanisms behind the light production of a bioluminescent strain of Streptococcus pyogenes and, subsequently, how the elucidated bacterial metabolic profile can be applied for use as a glucose biosensor. Chapter 3 looks at a well-known protein of Staphylococcus, staphylocoagulase (SC), but instead of focusing on its role in bacterial virulence, we investigate the application of a truncated SC as a hemostatic agent. We characterize the kinetics of SC’s interactions with prothrombin; compare its activity to clotting agents currently on the market for the treatment of acute bleeds; and propose a formulation and method of commercial production.