Medical Student Research Fellowship for Summer 2010
Mentor: Dr. Kim Orth
Department: Molecular Biology
Room number: NA 5.120F
Mail Code: 9148
Phone number: 6-1865
Project title: Analysis of Vibrio parahaemolyticus Pathogenicity in a Germ-Free Mouse Model
Human subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable):
Animal subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable): Please contact Dr. Lora Hooper (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Project Type: Animal-based Basic Research
Brief Description of Project:
The gram-negative bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a major cause of food-born illness worldwide. For the past 10 years, V. parahaemolyticus was the most common Vibrio species isolated from humans and the most common cause of Vibrio-associated gastroenteritis in the United States due to consumption of contaminated seafood. VopL, an important virulence factor, is believed to play a major role in the early phase of infection, because our previous study highlights the role of VopL as a potent nucleation factor for actin stress fiber assembly. We predict that the knockout of the VopL gene will greatly reduce V. parahaemolyticus-induced enterotoxicity in the animal gut. Our research project will utilize germ-free mice, generously provided by Dr. Lora Hooper's lab, in an established in vivo infection model for V. parahaemolyticus. We will use this animal model to specifically investigate the contribution of VopL to in vivo pathogenesis by infecting germ-free mice with the wild-type strain expressing T3SS2, a VopL- strain, and a VopL- strain transformed with a VopL expression plasmid. The VopL expression plasmid should theoretically restore the original phenotype, thereby satisfying Koch's molecular postulate. Intestinal damage and host response will be determined using several molecular tools, including histopathology, quantitative RT-PCR, and immunohistochemistry. The germ-free mouse model will also allow future investigation into host contributions to pathogenesis by characterizing the host response to infection.
Previous Research Activities or Publications with Medical Students:
This will be the first collaboration with a medical student.