Leah O'Malley Allen



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L. monocytogenes is a foodborne pathogen that can infect and cause death to immunocompromised, pregnant, or elderly individuals. The purpose of this research is to determine whether propionate, a common metabolite in our gut with known effects on our immune system, can signal our immune responses to prevent L. monocytogenes infections. Therefore, in this project, propionate was added to white blood cells where nitrite and reactive oxygen species were quantified to determine the effect of propionate on the activation of the immune system. Furthermore, RT-PCR was used to measure the effect of propionate on iNOS gene expression. Lastly, gentamicin protection assays were performed on naive and activated white blood cells to determine the effect of propionate on L. monocytogenes infection. Overall, these results will provide a greater understanding of the effects of propionate on immune cell activation and L. monocytogenes infections.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Honors Thesis

Primary Advisor

Yvonne Y. Sun

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Good Health and Well-Being

The Effects of Propionate on the Activation of Macrophages Against the Intracellular Pathogen Listeria monocytogenes