Date of Award

4-20-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Sidney A. Crow, Jr. - Chair

Second Advisor

George E. Pierce

Third Advisor

Richard A. Calderone

Fourth Advisor

William A. Fonzi

Abstract

Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Candida albicans have shown antagonistic relationships, both in vivo and in vitro. The interaction between P. aeruginosa and C. albicans is one of the many prokaryotic-eukaryotic interactions existing in nature and needs more research due to their complex pathogenicity in humans. In this work, we have studied growth dynamics of Candida in a mixed population of Pseudomonas and Candida, and their receptor and ligand specificities, both from an ecological and a molecular point of view. Initially, growth, viability, and morphogenesis of Candida were studied in the presence of Pseudomonas and the conditioned medium of Pseudomonas using two Candida strains, namely CAF2 and tup1 mutant. The killing effect of Pseudomonas was more pronounced on the hyphal form of Candida. However, growth of Candida was inhibited by Pseudomonas irrespective of its morphological form. The conditioned medium had no effect on the growth rate of Candida. Nevertheless, it completely inhibited the germination of Candida. The attachment of Pseudomonas to Candida was studied using different strains of both, and with Pseudomonas cells harvested at different stages of its growth. The percent attachment varied with the age of the textit Pseudomonas culture. A lecB mutant of Pseudomonas showed a two-fold reduction in attachment compared to the wild type PAK strain. Carbohydrate inhibition studies confirmed that LecB is not directly involved in the attachment mechanism, but indirectly involves through regulating the expression of other proteins required for attachment. A genomic DNA library of Pseudomonas PAO1 was screened for clones that had acquired the ability to attach to C. albicans. A clone was isolated with a small increase in attachment and was subjected to genetic analysis. It contained nucleotides 458565 to 475917 of the Pseudomonas genome including some genes of the Pil-Chp gene cluster. Seven transposon mutants that represent mutations in ChpA,B,C,D,E operon and three other ORFs were selected, and their attachment ability was tested. All seven mutants showed a reduction in attachment indicating that this was a non specific effect, which could be attributed to the in vitro manipulation of the bacteria. We conclude that the attachment of Pseudomonas to Candida is multi-factorial.

Included in

Biology Commons

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