Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Helen Tran Rose Hills

A Genetic Analysis of Bacterial Proteins Involved in ATP Secretion

To infect host cells, Salmonella uses its Type III Secretion System to inject virulence factors necessary for pathogenesis. Understanding the movement of ATP in Salmonella will help us understand how this bacterial pathogen regulates its secretion of virulence factors and its communication with host cells. This summer, I am performing a genetic analysis on bacterial proteins involved in ATP secretion of Salmonella. After screening a panel of E. coli mutants for defects in ATP secretion, it was concluded that mutants were defective in ATP secretion when two subunits of an enzyme, cytochrome bo oxidase, were deleted. These subunits are coded by cyo A and cyo B genes. E. coli is a gram-negative enteric bacterium that is closely related to Salmonella, so I will make the same deletion mutants of the two genes in Salmonella typhimurium and Salmonella enteritidis to determine if the same enzyme is responsible for ATP secretion. I will then measure the ATP secretion of each of the mutants and finally complement them with copies of their respective wild type genes. If ATP secretion is restored, it can be concluded that cytochrome bo oxidase is necessary for ATP secretion in both strains of Salmonella.

Message To Sponsor

The SURF/Rose Hills program has given me the opportunity to devote myself full time to researching and exploring my interests in immunology. It has challenged me intellectually and provided me with a foundation for a possible senior thesis. By participating in the SURF program, I will be able to learn skills that cannot be learned in a classroom that I will continue use in the future. I am very grateful for the SURF program and all the support I am receiving from the program as well as my mentor, Professor Sangwei Lu. I am excited to see what the summer holds and I hope that my project will provide me with a lot of learning and experience.
Profile image of Helen Tran
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Sangwei Lu, Public Health
Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation
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