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Project Information

COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH: USING TRANSCRIPTOMICS TO UNDERSTAND MECHANISMS OF STRESS RESPONSE AND TOXIN PRODUCTION IN PATHOGENIC AND TOXIGENIC MICROBES IN TROPICAL MARINE WATERS

Agency:
NSF

National Science Foundation

Project Number:
1129203
Contact PI / Project Leader:
BHATTACHARYA, DEBASHISH
Awardee Organization:
RUTGERS THE ST UNIV OF NJ NEW BRUNSWICK

Description

Abstract Text:
In this project an interdisciplinary research team from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Stanford University, and Rutgers University will study the transcriptomes of Gambierdiscus, Staphylococcus aureus, and Enterococcus in Hawaiian coastal waters - toxin-producing species that pose significant health hazards to humans. Their goal is to elucidate the mechanisms associated with toxin production by Gambierdiscus and inactivation by sunlight of the bacterial pathogen, S. aureus, and the fecal indicator, Enterococcus. Because the transcriptome of an organism reflects the genes that are actively being expressed at any given time, this study, by elucidating levels of messenger RNA expression in the target organisms, should provide valuable insights into the mechanisms responsible for toxin production, responses to stress and/or subsequent bacterial inactivation.

The research program will be organized around four working hypotheses:
H1: Production of ciguatoxin by Gambierdiscus reflects the physiological condition of the culture as influenced by temperature, irradiance, and growth phase.
H2: High throughput transcriptome analysis from toxin (+) and toxin (-) cultures will allow the identification of genes involved in ciguatoxin production and understanding of the light and nutrient conditions that favor this function.
H3: Whereas E. faecalis is susceptible to indirect photoinactivation under exposure to sunlight in seawater, S. aureus is not. This is likely due to the presence of carotenoid pigments within the cells, which are able to quench reactive oxygen species.
H4: E. faecalis and S. aureus respond to photo-stress in clear seawater by up-regulating genes that encode for proteins to repair cellular damage and mitigate oxidative stress; this "stressome" will change with increasing exposure to photostress, revealing the stress at which repair is no longer possible.

Broader Impacts: The information that will be gathered in this study is expected to contribute significantly to advancing the field of risk management with respect to recreational water use and seafood consumption beyond reliance on empirical correlations and towards policies that are based on a mechanistic understanding of the threats these organisms pose to human health.
Project Terms:
base; biological adaptation to stress; Carotenoids; Cells; Ciguatoxins; coastal water; Consumption; Enterococcus; Enterococcus faecalis; Exposure to; Gene Expression Profile; Genes; Genetic Transcription; Goals; Growth; Hawaii; Hawaiian population; Health; Health Hazards; Human; insight; Interdisciplinary Study; Light; Marines; Messenger RNA; Microbe; Nutrient; Organism; Oxidative Stress; pathogen; Phase; Physiological; Pigments; Policies; Production; programs; Proteins; Reactive Oxygen Species; Reliance; repaired; Research; response; Risk Management; Seafood; Seawater; Staphylococcus aureus; Stress; Sunlight; Temperature; Time Study; Toxin; transcriptomics; Universities; Water; Work

Details

Contact PI / Project Leader Information:
Name:  BHATTACHARYA, DEBASHISH
Other PI Information:
Not Applicable
Awardee Organization:
Name:  RUTGERS THE ST UNIV OF NJ NEW BRUNSWICK
City:  NEW BRUNSWICK    
Country:  UNITED STATES
Congressional District:
State Code:  NJ
District:  06
Other Information:
Fiscal Year: 2011
Award Notice Date: 28-Sep-2011
DUNS Number: 001912864
Project Start Date: 15-Sep-2011
Budget Start Date:
CFDA Code: 47.050
Project End Date: 31-Aug-2013
Budget End Date:
Agency: ?

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National Science Foundation
Project Funding Information for 2011:
Year Agency

Agency: The entity responsible for the administering of a research grant, project, or contract. This may represent a federal department, agency, or sub-agency (institute or center). Details on agencies in Federal RePORTER can be found in the FAQ page.

FY Total Cost
2011 NSF

National Science Foundation

$276,857

Results

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