Caenorhabditis elegans as a Model Host of Staphylococcus aureus Virulence
Terin E. Budine
Dr. Tim Walston, Faculty Mentor
Staph infections are caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, which is becoming increasingly drug resistant. This resistance has led to a need to better understand how Staph infections are established. Because exposure to S. aureus has a high correlation between mammalian infections and mortality of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, this worm can be used as a simple, inexpensive model for virulence of S. aureus mutants. This study assessed the survivability of C. elegans exposed to a variety of Staph mutants that were predicted to affect virulence, including mutations in BKD, NOS, dnaK, SigmaB and SAR genes. S. aureus NOS mutant was shown to have no significant difference in virulence from the parent strain S. aureus SH1000. However, worms exposed to BKD, dnaK, SAR and SigmaB mutant strains showed a significantly lower mortality rate. Therefore, these genes are likely important in order for S. aureus to establish infections.
Keywords: C. elegans, S. aureus, model organism
Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Location: MG 1098