Faculty Mentor

Suzanne Bassett Ph.D.

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-21-2020




Bordetella Type III Secretion System Effector A (BteA) is a virulence protein found in members of the genus Bordetella which include important pathogens of humans and other mammals. Bordetella pertussis is a causative agent of the whooping cough, a highly contagious respiratory disease that is especially dangerous, and sometimes deadly, for infants. The BteA protein appears to be an important factor in the ability of these pathogens to cause disease, as it leads to rapid killing of a wide range of mammalian cells. The aim of this project is to determine which regions of the DNA are important for mediating cell death. This project involves manipulating the bteA gene of a common laboratory strain of Bordetella bronchiseptica called RB50. The B. bronchiseptica bteA gene is nearly identical to the gene found in B. pertussis, yet this microbe is easier to grow in culture and does not typically cause illness in humans. Pinpointing amino acids importance in cytotoxicity may help to reveal the mechanism of action of BteA. An enhanced understanding may lead to more effective therapies and vaccines. The DNA sequencing results revealed that the site-directed mutagenesis was successful. The next steps will be to introduce the mutated bteA gene into a strain of B. bronchiseptica that lacks this gene to determine the effects of this mutation on cytotoxicity.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.