Shigella flexneri Lipopolysaccharide Modifications in the Presence of Bile Salts
Bauwens, Ciara. “Shigella flexneri Lipopolysaccharide Modifications in the Presence of Bile Salts”, Boston College, 2019. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:108501.
Shigella, a Gram-negative bacterial pathogen, induces inflammation and diarrhea by invading the colonic epithelium. Annually, millions of Shigella infections occur globally, mainly in malnourished children. Despite extensive research, no effective vaccine exists. This work explores the mechanisms of Shigella proliferation before colonic infection, where an adverse environment is encountered, including bile salts exposure. One means of bile salts evasion is possibly lipopolysaccharide (LPS) modification. LPS—O-antigen, the polysaccharide core, and the lipid A—is a crucial outer membrane component for virulence. Transposon mutant analysis suggested a role of LPS in bile salts resistance; thus, the goal of this study was to define Shigella LPS modifications following bile salts exposure. LPS mutants were investigated to distinguish crucial components of the LPS structure for bile salts resistance. Mutants were analyzed relative to wild type for growth in bile salts and biofilm formation. The LPS from all strains was purified and analyzed by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Stained gels show modifications in the Oag, lipid A, and core components. Key bands were sent for mass spectrophotometry sequencing. Results indicate that the O-antigen regulates Shigella bile salts resistance, as the complete O-antigen deletion mutant and partial deletion mutants exhibited slow growth in bile salts and failed to form a biofilm in the presence of bile salts. This work highlights the importance of bile salts exposure for Shigella in future targeted antibodies against the pathogen.