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The human or animal intestine contains many enteric bacteria that are all together being referred to as the gut microbiome. Many of these bacteria are motile by means of external flagella which help them to move to the most favorable niche within their environment. Besides these commensal bacteria, the intestine can contain pathogenic bacteria. The fecal-oral route of infection requires E. coli and other bacteria to cycle through external host environments, such as soil, which may contribute to their genetic and phenotypic diversity.Basic research in the Pruess lab has historically been related to the expression of flagella, motility, and chemotaxis, as well as biofilm. In the intestine, this is important because bacteria need to find specific target cells or cell layers that they can attach to and form a biofilm on. Practical research in the Pruess lab focuses on the prevention of E. coli and other pathogenic bacteria with the ultimate goal to decrease the occurrence of food borne outbreaks and recalls.The problem that will be addressed over the next five years is how E. coli responds to cues from the environment by mutating genes and changing their expression. This will be done in response to neurotransmitters that are found in the intestine of humans and other warm blooded animals, as well as in soil that is characterized by quickly changing environmental conditions. In both these projects, motility and biofilm will be the cellular processes that we will focus on. In the intestine, E. coli is essential to the health of its host and responses to neurotransmitters will permit the bacteria to migrate to specific niches. In soil, motility is important for optimal health of the bacterial population and soil health has a major impact on plant health and crop yield. Additionally, we will develop a third application for our two novel biofilm inhibitors, PEA and EAA. Aiming at commercialization of the technology, this will aid companies to develop novel prevention techniques for infectious diseases.ObjectivesObjective I: Determine the effect of trace amine neurotransmitters on Escherichia coliObjective II: Determine the relationship between genotypes and motility in E. coli soil isolatesObjective III: Prevent bacterial contamination of chicken carcasses

Pruess, Birgit; Dorsam, Gl, .; Bergholz, Peter W
North Dakota State University
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