Date of Award

Winter 2009

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Vaughn S Cooper


Burkholderia cenocepacia is a soil bacterium and opportunistic human pathogen found to infect the lungs of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. One factor that may allow B. cenocepacia to persist in the CF lung and continue to cause a decline in lung function is its ability to form biofilms. Little is known about the genetic mechanisms allowing this bacterium to transition from an acute to a chronic (biofilm) lifestyle. I used both transposon mutagenesis and positive laboratory selection to identify mutations that increase biofilm production. Mutations affecting capsule polysaccharide synthesis were identified, among others, by random mutagenesis to confer an increased biofilm phenotype, whereas mutations putatively resulting in increased intracellular levels of cyclic-di-GMP were identified in biofilm-adapted isolates.