Download Full Text (821 KB)


Many bacterial pathogens are capable of secreting one or more toxins, all of which can be categorized based on their function, target, or mechanism of action. Pore-forming toxins, for instance, are characterized based on their ability to perforate the host membrane. This may result in the delivery of bacterial substances into the host cell, release of compounds from the host cell, and/or death of the host cell. Research from our lab has demonstrated that Sneathia vaginalis, a gram-negative anaerobic bacterial species that is associated with bacterial vaginosis and preterm birth, produces a pore-forming toxin referred to as cytopathogenic toxin A. CptA is capable of lysing human red blood cells and permeabilizing chorionic trophoblasts and other epithelial cells. CptA appears to contribute to the traversal of Sneathia vaginalis across fetal membranes and may therefore contribute towards preterm birth and bacterial vaginosis. In order to confirm its role in fetal membrane traversal, an isogenic mutant of Sneathia vaginalis, in which the cptA gene has been functionally deleted, is needed. To accomplish this, we tested both plasmids and linear PCR products for the ability to insertionally inactivate the cptA gene. If the mutant is no longer able to traverse fetal membranes, then this will confirm that CptA is necessary for the virulence of Sneathia vaginalis.

Publication Date



Biology | Immunology and Infectious Disease | Microbiology

Current Academic Year


Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Kimberly K. Jefferson, PhD

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Sarah Golding, PhD


© The Author(s)

Introduction of plasmid DNA into Sneathia vaginalis; the first step to genetic manipulation