Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Microbiology & Immunology

First Advisor

Guy Cabral


Naegleria fowleri are free-living ameboflagellates found in soil and freshwater habitats throughout the world that cause a fatal disease in humans called Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM). Mechanisms of host resistance or susceptibility to infection have not been fully elucidated, and possible treatment methods are still sub optimal. The disease is diagnosed using specific laboratory tests available in only a few laboratories in the United States. Because of the rarity of infection and difficulty in initial detection, more than often PAM is misdiagnosed. Therefore, it is very important to find causative marker for early detection of an infection. The purpose of this study is to create a proteomic signature map using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-D gel) and recommend a subset of proteins that may be directly linked to the pathogenic state of N. fowleri. Replicates of 2-D Gels were created for both strains of N. fowleri and the proteomic templates from these gels were compared with each other. Scatter Plots were generated measuring the density of protein spots from 2-D gels being analyzed for each study. For each strains of N. fowleri, the 2-D gels from each study were compared within and compared between the two studies for reproducibility in data. The resulting correlation values for all of the Scatter Plots were greater or equal to 0.90. Finally, the representative proteomic template for axenically grown N. fowleri and mouse passaged N. fowleri were compared and the correlation value of 0.60 was observed. This confirmed our theory that these two strains or states of N. fowleri have very different protein expressions, and we were able to identify a subset of proteins, both over expressed and newly synthesized, that may be linked to the highly pathogenic state of N. fowleri.


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Date of Submission

August 2013