Date of Submission

Spring 2013

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

John Ferguson

Abstract/Artist's Statement


The interactions between humans and their microbial environments is a field that is both complex and not entirely understood. Recently research has emerged on a protein called human beta-defensin 2 (HBD-2) which is normally found in the human skin and lungs. HBD-2 interacts with a secreted serine protease of Staphylococcus epidermidis called glutamyl endopeptidase (Esp) to create a bacteriolytic effect on Staphylococcus aureus. Individually neither of these proteins kill S. aureus; Esp acts bacteriostatically and HBD-2 has no effect. A survey of other common Gram-positive skin bacteria was carried out to determine if other organisms had bacteriolytic effects on S. aureus in conjunction with HBD-2. The skin flora was also surveyed for bacteriolytic effects on other common Gram-positive bacteria when in the presence of HBD-2 and Esp. None of the skin bacteria studied showed any susceptibility to a HBD-2/Esp combination. Furthermore none of the skin bacteria could produce a bacteriolytic effect on S. aureus in conjunction with HBD-2. A small inhibitory effect was observed on S. epidermidis in the presence of HBD-2/Esp. These results suggest that the interaction of HBD-2 with skin flora is highly specific for S. epidermidis.

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