Theses and Dissertations



Thornton, Justin A.

Committee Member

Seo, Keun Seok

Committee Member

Park, Joo Youn

Committee Member

Gout, Jean Francois

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Visible MSU only 1 year

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Campus Access Only


Biological Sciences (Microbiology)

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Biological Sciences


Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) is a Gram positive opportunistic bacterium that is a primary cause of pneumonia in young children and immunocompromised individuals. This microorganism colonizes the nasopharynx of all age groups and health levels and is easily transmitted through respiratory droplets or aerosols. While capsule-based vaccines are available, these are becoming more obsolete as S. pneumoniae strains are undergoing serotype replacement, thus evading detection, and antibiotic resistant strains are increasing in prevalence. This study has taken a different approach by identifying immunogenic proteins that elicit antibodies which block attachment of bacteria to host epithelial cells. Proteins with the most potential were assessed by analyzing the reactivities of human sera with varying degrees of colonization blockage. Proteins which reacted with the primary protective antibody in mucosal sites, IgA, were prioritized. Identification of those proteins through mass spectrometry will be crucial in creating more effective, long-term protection against S. pneumoniae infections.