Theses and Dissertations


Yoonsung Hu:

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Thornton, Justin A.

Committee Member

Jordan, Heather R.

Committee Member

Nanduri, Bindu

Committee Member

Seo, Keun Seok

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Biological Sciences

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Biological Sciences


Colonization is prerequisite for infection and transmission of Streptococcus pneumoniae, or pneumococcus. Currently available pneumococcal conjugate and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccines can provide protection against a limited number of capsular serotypes. Implementation of vaccines has decreased the frequency of invasive pneumococcal disease and their colonization rates, but only in a serotype-dependent manner. This has led to serotype replacement in pneumococcal ecology and increased invasive disease caused by non-vaccine serotypes. Development of conserved protein-based vaccine that can provide protection against all pneumococcal serotypes is needed. Numerous surface proteins are conserved in all serotypes, and some are known to be involved in the colonization process. Understanding how pneumococcal surface proteins interact with host cells and determining their roles in colonization will aid in vaccine development. In this dissertation, we characterized host cell receptors of pneumococcal surface proteins, and proteins involved in biofilm formation, and their effect in colonization. We utilized a novel protein expression vector, pOS1, which can express secreted proteins with no LPS, IPTG induction, or cell lysis requirement. These expressed recombinant proteins were used for further investigation. We identified that human Annexin A2 (ANXA2) interacts with pneumococcal surface adhesion A (PsaA) protein. ANXA2 transduced cells showed significant increase in binding with pneumococcus compared to non-transduced cells. We conducted proteomic profiling of planktonic and biofilm membrane proteins and identified that two lipoproteins (AmiA, SP_0148) were overexpressed during biofilm formation. Isogenic mutants lacking these individual proteins showed decreased in biofilm formation compared to their parental strain. Deletion of SP_0148 led to decreased adhesion of pneumococcus to human nasopharyngeal epithelial cells (Detroit 562). These results increased our understanding of pneumococcal surface proteins involved in biofilm-formation and colonization as well as identifying new host receptors ligands for these adhesins.