Laura N Quick

Villanova University, Norristown, Pennsylvania, United States

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Publications (7)23.62 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Low fluid shear force, including that encountered in microgravity models, induces bacterial responses, but the range of bacteria capable of responding to this signal remains poorly characterized. We systematically analyzed a range of Gram negative Enterobacteriaceae for conservation of the low-shear modeled microgravity (LSMMG) response using phenotypic assays, qPCR, and targeted mutations. Our results indicate LSMMG response conservation across Enterobacteriacae with potential variance in up- or down-regulation of a given response depending on genus. Based on the data, we analyzed the role of the trp operon genes and the TrpR regulator in the LSMMG response using targeted mutations in these genes in S. Typhimurium and E. coli. We found no alteration of the LSMMG response compared to WT in these mutant strains under the conditions tested here. To our knowledge, this study is first-of-kind for Citrobacter, Enterobacter, and Serratia, presents novel data for Escherichia, and provides the first analysis of trp genes in LSMMG responses. This impacts our understanding of how LSMMG affects bacteria and our ability to modify bacteria with this condition in the future.
    The Open Microbiology Journal 01/2014; 8:51-8.
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    ABSTRACT: We have previously reported the cloning of the Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium SPI-1 secretion system and the use of this clone to functionally complement a ΔSPI-1 strain for type III secretion activity. In the current study, we discovered that S. Typhimurium cultures containing cloned SPI-1 display an adherent biofilm and cell clumps in the media. This phenotype was associated with hyper-expression of SPI-1 type III secretion functions. The biofilm and cell clumps were associated with copious amounts of secreted SPI-1 protein substrates SipA, SipB, SipC, SopB, SopE, and SptP. We used a C-terminally FLAG-tagged SipA protein to further demonstrate SPI-1 substrate association with the cell aggregates using fluorescence microscopy and immunogold electron microscopy. Different S. Typhimurium backgrounds and both flagellated and nonflagellated strains displayed the biofilm phenotype. Mutations in genes essential for known bacterial biofilm pathways (bcsA, csgBA, bapA) did not affect the biofilms formed here indicating that this phenomenon is independent of established biofilm mechanisms. The SPI-1-mediated biofilm was able to massively recruit heterologous non-biofilm forming bacteria into the adherent cell community. The results indicate a bacterial aggregation phenotype mediated by elevated SPI-1 type III secretion activity with applications for engineered biofilm formation, protein purification strategies, and antigen display.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(3):e33080. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The IncP plasmid R995 has been a useful self-transmissible, broad-host-range vector for a number of applications including the recombinase/conjugation-based cloning of large genomic DNA segments. However, R995 derivatives (or related plasmids) expressing a wide range of different resistance markers and Flp recombinase target sites do not exist in the literature. In addition, documented strategies for applying such plasmids in cloning applications that take advantage of conjugation for the convenient isolation and recovery of constructs are extremely limited. Here, we report a new series of R995 plasmids with alternative markers to increase options for applications in backgrounds already expressing resistance to a particular antibiotic(s). These R995 plasmids have been engineered to contain FRT sites that can be used for recombinase-based cloning. We demonstrate the utility of this approach by cloning 20 kb regions from the Salmonella Typhimurium and Escherichia coli genomes and by cloning DNA from an exogenous plasmid source. To our knowledge, this represents the first systematic engineering of an intact, self-transmissible IncP plasmid with a series of alternative antibiotic markers and FRT sites.
    Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology 11/2011; 21(11):1123-6. · 1.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium possesses a stimulon of genes that are differentially regulated in response to conditions of low fluid shear force that increase bacterial virulence and alter other phenotypes. In this study, we show that a previously uncharacterized member of this stimulon, ydcI or STM1625, encodes a highly conserved DNA binding protein with related homologs present in a range of gram-negative bacterial genera. Gene expression analysis shows that ydcI is expressed in different bacterial genera and is involved in its autoregulation in S. Typhimurium. We demonstrate that purified YdcI protein specifically binds a DNA probe consisting of its own promoter sequence. We constructed an S. Typhimurium ΔydcI mutant strain and show that this strain is more sensitive to both organic and inorganic acid stress than is an isogenic WT strain, and this defect is complemented in trans. Moreover, our data indicate that ydcI is part of the rpoS regulon related to stress resistance. The S. Typhimurium ΔydcI mutant was able to invade cultured cells to the same degree as the WT strain, but a strain in which ydcI expression is induced invaded cells at a level 2.8 times higher than that of the WT. In addition, induction of ydcI expression in S. Typhimurium resulted in the formation of a biofilm in stationary-phase cultures. These data indicate the ydcI gene encodes a conserved DNA binding protein involved with aspects of prokaryotic biology related to stress resistance and possibly virulence.
    Journal of bacteriology 03/2011; 193(9):2208-17. · 3.94 Impact Factor
  • Laura N Quick, Ashka Shah, James W Wilson
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    ABSTRACT: A target bacterial strain of interest for use in Red-based recombineering may already encode resistance to antibiotic markers used with current Red recombination tools such that the resistance cannot be removed. Such cases include those where markers are needed to maintain an unstable genetic element co-resident in the strain or those where the genetic source of resistance is not known. We report the availability of PCR templates with FRT-flanked mutagenesis cassettes and plasmids encoding Red recombination functions that contain marker combinations not currently available on widely disseminated lambda Red molecular reagents. The functionality of these convenient alternative tools is demonstrated.
    Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology 04/2010; 20(4):666-9. · 1.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The spaceflight environment is relevant to conditions encountered by pathogens during the course of infection and induces novel changes in microbial pathogenesis not observed using conventional methods. It is unclear how microbial cells sense spaceflight-associated changes to their growth environment and orchestrate corresponding changes in molecular and physiological phenotypes relevant to the infection process. Here we report that spaceflight-induced increases in Salmonella virulence are regulated by media ion composition, and that phosphate ion is sufficient to alter related pathogenesis responses in a spaceflight analogue model. Using whole genome microarray and proteomic analyses from two independent Space Shuttle missions, we identified evolutionarily conserved molecular pathways in Salmonella that respond to spaceflight under all media compositions tested. Identification of conserved regulatory paradigms opens new avenues to control microbial responses during the infection process and holds promise to provide an improved understanding of human health and disease on Earth.
    PLoS ONE 02/2008; 3(12):e3923. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A comprehensive analysis of both the molecular genetic and phenotypic responses of any organism to the space flight environment has never been accomplished because of significant technological and logistical hurdles. Moreover, the effects of space flight on microbial pathogenicity and associated infectious disease risks have not been studied. The bacterial pathogen Salmonella typhimurium was grown aboard Space Shuttle mission STS-115 and compared with identical ground control cultures. Global microarray and proteomic analyses revealed that 167 transcripts and 73 proteins changed expression with the conserved RNA-binding protein Hfq identified as a likely global regulator involved in the response to this environment. Hfq involvement was confirmed with a ground-based microgravity culture model. Space flight samples exhibited enhanced virulence in a murine infection model and extracellular matrix accumulation consistent with a biofilm. Strategies to target Hfq and related regulators could potentially decrease infectious disease risks during space flight missions and provide novel therapeutic options on Earth.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2007; 104(41):16299-304. · 9.81 Impact Factor