Honors Program

Midway Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Sean James Fox

Thesis Professor Department

<--College of Public Health-->

Thesis Reader(s)

Ranjan Chakraborty, Erik Petersen


The rise of antibiotic resistance in common human pathogens and the lack of development of novel therapeutic treatments has created a threat to global health. A unique source for potential novel treatments are from microorganisms, particularly within the complex, antagonistic polymicrobial interactions that take place in microbial communities. These unique mechanisms utilized by microorganisms to fight each other could potentially identify novel therapeutic targets for use at a clinical level, however, there is a lack of research in this area to determine its applicability. Alcaligenes faecalis is a Gram-negative bacterium that seldom causes human disease and has been observed in our lab to show competitive, contact-dependent inhibitory mechanisms against Bacillus species, Candida albicans, and Staphylococcus species. These bacterial and eukaryotic microbes are increasingly a common source of human disease and all exhibit increased incidences of drug resistance. In this study, genetic elements related to A. faecalis’ contact-dependent inhibitory mechanism were determined via transposon mutagenesis. Genomic sequencing was performed on mutant strains of A. faecalis that exhibited diminished inhibition or loss-of-function inhibition against the competing microbes. Four of these A. faecalis mutant strains were successfully sequenced and compared to NCBI’s genomic database. The proteins of the interrupted genetic elements were identified as a FAD-binding oxidoreductase, MFS transporter, and mechanosensitive ion channel. Further analysis of these mutants is needed to determine their role in the mechanism of A. faecalis’ antimicrobial activity. The findings of this study may aid in the identification of new therapeutic targets for novel S. aureus, C. albicans, and Bacillus species treatments.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Withheld

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Copyright by the authors.

Included in

Microbiology Commons