The genus Mycobacterium contains many pathogenic bacteria that are known to cause serious diseases in humans. One of the most well-known of these bacteria is Mycobacterium tuberculosis, or Mtb, which is the causative agent of tuberculosis. It infects nearly one-third of the world’s population and kills 1.4 million people annually. Another important mycobacterial pathogen is Mycobacterium abscessus, or Mabs, which causes respiratory infections in cystic fibrosis patients. One of the biggest difficulties in combating these pathogens is the lack of effective diagnostics, as current strategies hold many pitfalls and can be unreliable. One common method used is sputum smear microscopy which involves acid fast staining of the bacteria present in a patient’s sputum. This method of detection fails to detect more than 50% of infections and is unable to differentiate between species of mycobacterium. This project introduces a novel method of mycobacterial diagnostics using binary deoxyribozymes (DNAzymes). Binary DNAzymes recognize bacteria-specific nucleic acid sequences and bind to them, forming a catalytic core which cleaves a substrate molecule. This cleavage separates a quencher molecule from a fluorophore, which results in a fluorescent output. This flexible assay platform has great potential for the detection of Mtb or Mabs. Our data shows the specificity of the DNAzymes allowing for a differential diagnosis of various species of Mycobacteria. It also shows the limit of detection of this technology and its additional utility in molecular typing of Mtb clinical isolates as well as drug resistance characterization. This multipurpose tool can contribute to disease management in multiple ways.
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Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Medicine
Dissertations, Academic -- Medicine; Medicine -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Rosenkrantz, Bradley, "Detection and Characterization of Pathogenic Mycobacteria Using Binary Deoxyribozymes" (2015). HIM 1990-2015. 1849.