Characterization of the role that bacterial surface polysaccharide poly N-acetyl glucosamine plays in nonvaccine serotypes of streptococcus pneumoniae colonization and pathogenicity
Poly N-acetyl glucosamine is a cell surface polysaccharide that has been characterized in Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus as involved in biofilm formation and implicated in virulence. Its role in bacterial colonization and pathogenicity is now being characterized in Streptococcus pneumoniae. The aim of this thesis was to produce PNAG-deficient S. pneumoniae mutants and to confirm differential levels of biofilm formation in PNAG-deficient mutants in comparison to their wild type strains. Using PCR, gel electrophoresis, and indirect immunofluorescence, successful transformations of PNAG-deficient mutants were confirmed. Biofilm assays provided preliminary data for further investigation of the role that PNAG plays in colonization in S. pneumoniae. A novel finding in PNAG genetic structure in S. pneumoniae was also discovered, providing a new avenue of research on PNAG.