Jack Norris

Year: Senior

Major(s): Biology

Mentor: Castignetti, Domenic

Department: Biology

Project Title: Determining Correlation of the Production of Quorum Sensors and Siderophores in M. Loti

Project Abstract: The goal of this project is to investigate the role of quorum sensors in regards to siderophore production in a soil bacterium Mesorhizobium loti. Quorum Sensors (QS) are molecules that are derivatives of the chemical N-acyl homoserine lactone or AHL. These are signals that bind to promoter sequences in bacterial DNA and enhance gene expression. Siderophores are compounds produced by bacteria, such as M. loti, in order to acquire iron from an environment that is iron limited. Our hypothesis is that siderophores may be regulated by a community response that uses AHLs as communications signals. Siderophore formation may be depended on quorum sensor activation. Through various assays such as Chrome Azurol S assay, Thin Layer Chromatography assay, and O-nitrophenyl-beta-D-galactopyranoside assay we plan to track the behavior of M. loti in their production of QS related to their release of siderophores. This research has the potential to help us better understand the way disease-causing, iron-scavenging bacteria communicate with each other in biofilms. Cystic Fibrosis is one of the main diseases in which the bacteria put this mechanism to use.