Emilie A. Moses



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Multidrug resistance in bacteria, defined as the ability of a bacterial strain to resist the killing effects of more than one antibiotic, represents a major threat to global healthcare. Every year in the United States, two million people are infected with a multidrug resistant strain of bacteria. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), out of those two million people, about 35,000 will die from their infection. Thus, these multidrug resistant diseases are considered by the CDC to be the most dangerous diseases in the world. While multidrug resistance can occur through several different mechanisms, a major contributor to multidrug resistance are the bacterial efflux pumps. Efflux pumps are transporters that reside in the membrane of a bacterial cell, and they function by pumping out toxic organic compounds, including antibiotics, from the cell. These efflux pumps often lack specificity for the compounds that they can expel from the cell which means that a single type of efflux pump can confer resistance to many types of antibiotics all at once. When bacterial cells produce high levels of these efflux pumps in their membranes, it can give rise to a multidrug resistance characteristic. I intend to inhibit the efflux pump using single-stranded DNA aptamers that I developed using a CELL-SELEX procedure. Any aptamers that can successfully inhibit the efflux pump will be analyzed to determine their potency, their specificity, and to identify their specific nucleotide sequence. These aptamers should either clog the pump opening and/or bind to the Tol C region of the pump, making it inactive so antibiotics are not expelled from cells. This would allow antibiotics to once again be effective and work to their full potential.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Honors Thesis

Primary Advisor

Matthew E. Lopper

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium Posters, College of Arts and Sciences

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Good Health and Well-Being

Development of Nucleic Acid Aptamers to Inhibit Bacterial Efflux Pumps