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Amphibian populations have been declining rapidly across the globe over the past few decades, imposing major threats to amphibian biodiversity and environmental health. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is an aquatic fungal pathogen that is largely responsible for these declines, colonizing the keratin-rich tissues in amphibian skin and leading to lethal infections. Some populations of amphibians that are normally susceptible to Chytridiomycosis, the disease caused by Bd infections, however, have been shown to display an apparent resistance. A promising explanation for these patterns lies in the mutualistic relationship between amphibians and the microbiome supported on their porous skin. One of the bacterial species that frequently inhabits amphibian skin, Janthinobacterium lividum, is notable for its production of the dark purple pigment violacein, which displays a number of inhibitory properties against the growth of various bacteria, fungi, parasites, and tumor tissues. The vioABCDE operon, which is responsible for violacein biosynthesis, will produce the green pigment deoxychromoviridans when disruptions are present in the vioC gene. While the inhibitory activity of violacein is widely studied, little is known about the behavior of deoxychromoviridans. This study looks at the antimicrobial properties of deoxychromoviridans and violacein against four commonly encountered bacterial strains: Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus cereus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus aureus. By examining the antibacterial properties of deoxychromoviridans, the role of violacein as the source of the antibacterial activity seen in these strains can be clarified. Since violacein has such a wide spectrum of potential medical applications, studying the antibacterial properties of pigments with similar chemical structures could help in the development of novel antibacterial and antifungal drugs.
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Page, Alexander Murry, "The Antibacterial Activity of Tryptophan-derived Pigments Violacein and Deoxychromoviridans on Four Common Bacterial Strains" (2015). Senior Projects Fall 2015. 22.