Sara M. Wagner

Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. Robyn Puffenbarger

Degree Award Date

Spring 2008


Proteomic Changes, Staphylococcus aureus, Cell Wall, Immunologic Challenge


Biology | Cell and Developmental Biology | Laboratory and Basic Science Research | Microbiology


Staphylococcus aureus is a gram positive bacterium associated with human pathogenesis. This pathogen can cause an array of infections from superficial skin infections and abscesses to life threatening, invasive conditions such as endocarditis and sepsis (1,2). S. aureus the most common cause of hospital acquired bacterial infections of all systems, and is becoming increasingly more frequent in community acquired bacterial infections (3,4). In addition to the highly communicable character of this bacterium, antibiotic resistance is increasing adding to the high medical expense, morbidity and mortality associated with S. aureus infections (5,6). Since resistance to vancomycin the last effective antibiotic to combat S. aureus infections is spreading, other means to control S. aureus infections are attractive targets for research ( 4).

Understanding the interactions of S. aureus and host defense may lead to the development of novel immune-based therapies to control these infections. Despite the existence of thousands of species of bacteria only a select few, such as S. aureus, can invade and cause serious disease in normal healthy individuals. A major question to address is: Are there some bacterial mechanisms that allow S. aureus to evade the immune system? The goal of this research is to identify cell surface proteins that are either up- or down-regulated in response to immunologic challenge. These proteins can then be identified and evaluated as possible therapeutic or vaccine targets.