Methods of blocking efflux pump activity in Escherichia coli

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.S. in Chemistry


Department of Chemistry


Advisor: Matthew Lopper


Overuse of antibiotics throughout the developed world has contributed significantly to the emergence of antibiotic-resistance in bacteria. Although this helps bacteria it is extremely harmful to humans. As bacteria adapt to the antibiotics, current treatments become ineffective and bacterial infections can become life threatening. One of the mechanisms that bacteria, such as E. coli, use are efflux pumps. Efflux pumps are capable of taking potentially harmful substances, like antibiotics, from inside the bacterial cell to outside of the cell. This allows the bacterium to escape from the damaging effects of the antibiotics. My hypothesis was that natural products, small molecule compounds, or DNA aptamers would be able to bind to some part of the tripartite structure of the AcrA-AcrB –TolC efflux pump and block its activity. The use of natural products and small molecule compounds as potential inhibitors allowed me to determine what substances and structural targets are not viable options. The use of DNA aptamers did show significant potential in blocking efflux pump activity.


Chemistry, Biochemistry

Rights Statement

Copyright 2018, author