Date of Graduation

12-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Microelectronics-Photonics (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Graduate School

Advisor

Lawton Lanier Nalley

Committee Member

Bruce Dixon

Second Committee Member

Petronella Chaminuka

Third Committee Member

Katarina Melichova

Keywords

E. coli, silver ions, super resolution microscopy

Abstract

Histone-like nucleoid structuring proteins (HNS) play significant roles in shaping the chromosomal DNA, regulation of transcriptional networks in microbes, as well as bacterial responses to environmental changes such as temperature fluctuations. In this work, the intracellular organization of HNS proteins in E. coli bacteria was investigated utilizing super-resolution fluorescence microscopy, which surpasses conventional microscopy by 10–20 fold in spatial resolution. More importantly, the changes of the spatial distribution of HNS proteins in E. coli, by addition of silver ions into the growth medium were explored. To quantify the spatial distribution of HNS in bacteria and its changes, an automatic method based on Voronoi diagram was implemented. The HNS proteins localized in super-resolution fluorescence microscopy were segmented and clustered based on several quantitative parameters, such as molecular areas, molecular densities, and mean inter-molecular distances of the k-th rank, all of which were computed from the Voronoi diagrams. These parameters, as well as the associated clustering analysis, allowed us to quantify how the spatial organization of HNS proteins responds to silver, and provided insight into understanding how microbes adapt to new environments.

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