Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)


Biomedical Sciences

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

J. Russell Hayman

Committee Members

Fred Hossler, David Johnson, Michael Kruppa, Robert Schoborg


Microsporidia infect invertebrate and vertebrate animals. Human pathogenic microsporidia are associated with severe disease in immunocompromised individuals, and mostly asymptomatic infection in the immunocompetent. Treatment options for microsporidiosis are limited, incompletely effective, and associated with toxicity. Furthermore, microsporidia infection of healthy individuals is poorly understood, and the consequences of asymptomatic infection have not been determined. Little is known about the molecular mechanisms of microsporidia infection, but such information is essential for the development of new therapies. Spores adhere to host cell surfaces in vitro. Our laboratory has focused on determining specific host cell and microsporidia spore surface participants in spore adherence. Our previous studies have shown that host cell sulfated glycosaminoglycans and the spore surface protein EnP1 participate in spore adherence to host cells. Additionally, in vitro inhibition or augmentation of spore adherence decreased or increased host cell infection, respectively. These studies demonstrated the importance of spore adherence in host cell infection and began to characterize the host cell and spore determinants of adherence. The goal of this research was to further characterize host cell and spore participants in microsporidia adherence and infection of host cells in vitro. We characterized an intracellular microsporidia protein and related antibodies for analyses of microsporidia spore surface proteins; characterized a spore surface protein, MsADAM, involved in spore adherence to and infection of host cells in vitro; and suggested a role for host cell integrins in microsporidia adherence to and infection of host cells in vitro.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.

Included in

Parasitology Commons