Samantha Hackett

Samantha Hackett

Identifying Interactions between Murine Norovirus, C. albicans, and E. coli mutants


Samantha Hackett, Jasmine Madrigal, Melissa Jones, Ph.D.


Dr. Melissa Jones


College of Agricultural and Life Sciences


Human norovirus (HuNoV) is responsible for the death of 200,000 people per year; however, there is no vaccine nor are there any therapeutic drugs specifically tailored to norovirus. This is due to its pathogenesis being largely unknown because of the difficulty to cultivate norovirus in vitro. Once these methods were discovered, it was found that commensal bacteria can enhance both HuNoV and Murine Norovirus (MNV) infection. However, it was not well understood why. This study identifies the interactions between MNV and C. albicans and E. coli mutants, all of which are found in the human gut. These cultures were incubated with virus, known as an MNV attachment assay, for 0-60 minutes. Then, qPCR was used to quantify the amount of viral RNA present in the sample. It was found that MNV does attach to C. albicans, but not at the levels of other species studied. An initial attachment assay of 60 minutes was done on all of the E. coli mutants, and a handful of strains were found to have a significantly higher level of attachment compared to the wild type strain, E. coli BW25113. It was thought that these strains may be “stickier,” thus leading to a higher level of attachment than is normally observed. This theory was tested using 0-, 15-, and 30-minute time points. However, no significant differences were shown between those strains and the wild type also included in the study. Future directions include attempting to reinsert the knocked-out gene to see if that affects attachment.


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Research Pitch

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