Parthvi Patel

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Tuberculosis, caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, kills over a million people worldwide each year. To understand how mycobacterial cells grow, we are studying growth in the model organism Mycobacterium smegmatis. The mycobacterial cell wall has asymmetrical polar growth. The insertion of new peptidoglycan near the cell poles accounts for the growth of the cell wall. The wag31 gene in Mycobacterium smegmatis cells was mutated, and different mutations were used to evaluate the function of Wag31. The strains were stained with HADA staining the peptidoglycan and Syto-24 staining the DNA of the bacteria. The bacteria were then observed under the microscope. Using MicrobeJ and Fiji software, the mycobacterial cells were analyzed to figure out the intensity and distribution of peptidoglycan metabolism in the cells and to describe the cell morphology. The data show that different mutants exhibit defects in different aspects of cell wall expansion during the cell cycle. From these data, we conclude that Wag31 is involved in multiple parts in the cell cycle of mycobacteria.

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