Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Dr. Pete Chandrangsu

Reader 2

Dr. Ethan Van Arnam

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© Caroline G Sundal


The ongoing struggle against antibiotic resistance and the lack of new antibiotic discoveries being made is a threat to global health. Alternate forms of antibacterial treatment are an important area of research to increase the treatment efficacy of clinical antimicrobial applications. In this research paper, we examine the model organism Staphylcoccus epidermidis, one of the leading causes of nosocomial infection. S. epidermidis normally resides on skin and mucus, however, can become an opportunistic pathogen if it invades the body, entering the bloodstream via the insertion of medical and prosthetic devices. Copper was a traditional therapy in ancient Egypt used for its antimicrobial properties to treat a variety of medical conditions. Despite copper being an effective antibacterial agent, S. epidermidis has been shown to develop resistance against it. To understand which genes likely play a role in copper resistance, we look at previously observed S. epidermidis genes that are upregulated in the presence of copper. From this, the importance of the multicopper oxidase domain-containing protein (EQW00_RS00705) to copper resistance was examined, through clean deletion. Multicopper oxidases (MCOs) are enzymes involved in a variety of processes including metal homeostasis and metal resistance. They have been found to use Cu ions as cofactors to oxidize Cu+ into the less toxic Cu2+ in E. coli. As MCOs are generally conserved, this demonstrates a possible mechanism for copper resistance in S. epidermidis. We expect to find decreased resistance of S. epidermidis EQW00_RS00705 mutant compared to S. epidermidis WT. This would indicate that EQW00_RS00705 significantly contributes to S. epidermidis copper resistance, adding to the knowledge used to develop novel antibiotic treatments against S. epidermidis infections

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Biology Commons