Nicolina Valore


Presentation: 3:00-4:15, Kennedy Union Ballroom



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Listeria monocytogenes is a foodborne pathogen that can cause infections with a high mortality rate in the United States. Therefore, learning more about the interactions between this pathogen and our immune defenses could greatly strengthen our ability to protect high-risk communities. During transmission from food to the human intestines, L. monocytogenes is exposed to various environmental conditions, including propionate, a common food additive as well as a fermentation product by our gut microbiota, and various oxygen levels. How these environmental factors influence L. monocytogenes fitness and pathogenesis is not fully understood. My Berry Summer Thesis Institute research investigated L. monocytogenes interactions with mucin and antimicrobial peptides, both are critical barriers found in the intestinal lumen. L. monocytogenes was grown with or without propionate under aerobic or anaerobic conditions and then exposed to mucin and antimicrobial peptides. Then, I measured the bacterial colony forming units (CFUs) to calculate survival after exposure. My preliminary results showed that anaerobically grown bacteria were more susceptible to antimicrobial peptide LL-37 than aerobically grown bacteria. However, the presence of mucin rescued anaerobic, but not aerobic, bacteria against LL-37. These results highlight the need to further investigate the role of oxygen in L. monocytogenes fitness and pathogenesis under relevant conditions.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Honors Thesis

Primary Advisor

Yvonne Y. Sun

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium, College of Arts and Sciences

Institutional Learning Goals

Practical Wisdom; Scholarship; Vocation

Mucin Can Rescue Anaerobically Grown <em>Listeria monocytogenes </em>from Killing by Antimicrobial Peptide Ll-37