You and I: The Effects of Intra- and Inter-Species Interactions on Microbial Biofilms, Growth, and Morphology
Humanity is shaped by its relationships with microbes. From bacterial infections to the production of biofuels, industry and health often hinge on our control of microbial populations. Understanding the physiological and genetic basis of their behaviors is therefore of the highest importance. To this end I have investigated the genetic basis of plastic adhesion in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the mechanistic and evolutionary dynamics of mixed species biofilms with Escherichia coli and S. cerevisiae, and the induction of filamentation in E. coli. Using a bulk segregant analysis on experimentally evolved populations, I detected 28 genes that are likely to mediate plastic adhesion in S. cerevisiae. With a variety of imaging and culture manipulation techniques, I found that particular strains of E. coli are capable of inducing flocculation and macroscopic biofilm formation via coaggregation with yeast. I also employed experimental evolution and microbial demography techniques to find that selection for mixed species biofilm association leads to lower fecundity in S. cerevisiae. Using culture manipulation and imaging techniques, I also found that E. coli are capable of inducing a filamentous phenotype with a secreted signal that has many of the qualities of a quorum sensing molecule.
Evolution & development
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Rights for Collection: Masters Theses