Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Thornton, Justin A.

Committee Member

Pharr, G. Todd

Committee Member

Donaldson, Janet R.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Biological Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Biological Sciences


Apoptosis of innate immune is an important part of proper resolution of infection and inflammation. One major protein involved in apoptosis is p53 up-regulated mediator of apoptosis (PUMA). We hypothesize apoptosis induced by the p53/PUMA pathway is initially triggered by ROS thereby preventing neutrophils from defaulting to another form of cell death or remaining in a state of hyper-activation that is harmful to the host. HL-60 granulocytic cells were stimulated with the Streptococcus pneumoniae strain SpxB-. Despite inducing both ROS and DNA damage, PUMA transcription and subsequent apoptosis appeared to be independent of both factors. However, PUMA is still relevant in the terms of inflammation and infection as seen with the Staphylococcus aureus challenge. Mice lacking PUMA had less macrophages in tissue following challenge. In conclusion, while PUMA is important in the terms of resolving infectious diseases, PUMA-dependent apoptosis does not appear to be mediated by ROS and DNA damage.