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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name



Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

First Advisor

Jeffrey H. Withey


V. cholerae is a gram-negative bacterium that is the causative agent of the intestinal disease Cholera, which is characterized by voluminous, watery diarrhea. Upon entry into their human host via consumption of contaminated food/water, the bacteria colonize the upper small intestine of the host, which leads to severe diarrhea, dehydration and loss of electrolytes and can result in death if the condition is not treated. The transcription regulation of the two major virulence factors, the Toxin Coregulated Pilus and the Cholera Toxin, and other accessory factors is under the control of a master virulence regulator protein called ToxT. It controls virulence gene expression by binding to degenerate 13-bp sequences in the virulence promoters called toxboxes and presumably interacts directly with RNA Polymerase. Furthermore, ToxT has been shown to alter its activity in response to both negative and positive effectors. Understanding the exact mechanisms by which it responds to host signals and controls gene expression can help to identify better therapeutic targets for treating cholera.

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