Investigation of a conjugative plasmid in Staphylococcus aureus
An alarming number of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections have begun to surface in communities due to a particular strain USA300. USA300 carries a single conjugative plasmid, pUSA03, which confers multiple antibiotic resistance. This is of great concern because the plasmid has been suggested to be able to acquire additional resistance genes in response to changing antibiotic uses. To study the evolution of pUSA03, I hope to characterize the pUSA03 plasmid found in USA300 isolates infecting patients by whole plasmid PCR scanning that could detect any structural changes in the plasmid DNA sequence. Any variations found from the prototypical pUSA03 plasmid may be indicative of plasmid evolution, and I plan to sequence those plasmids to determine the nature of the changes.
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- Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
- Mentor: George Sensabaugh, School of Public Health