Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Elaine Walker, Foster Levy

Committee Members

W. Scott Champney


To combat widespread infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus, mupirocin was introduced at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Mountain Home, Tennessee. Soon after introduction, high-level mupirocin-resistance emerged. The rapid emergence was hypothesized to be due to conjugative transfer of the mupA resistance gene from S. epidermidis to S. aureus. Results have shown that transfer of high-level mupirocin-resistance from S. aureus donors commonly occurs. However, transfer from naturally-occurring S. epidermidis donors was not attainable. Staphylococcus epidermidis transconjugants, however, were capable of serving as donors. Further examination of non-transmissibility included PCR analysis of conjugative transfer genes (tra genes) in capable and non-capable donors. Results confirmed that capable donors possess full-length copies of selected transfer genes. Non-capable donors varied in the presence/absence of full-length copies of transfer genes, but none had all three genes. The genetic differences among non-capable donors suggest that non-transmissibility has arisen independently in different strains via gene deletions and recombinations.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.

Included in

Bacteriology Commons