Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Biology (Cell Biology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology)

Major Professor

Prahathees Eswara, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lindsey Shaw, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Stanley Stevens, Ph.D.


GpsB, Fluorescence microscopy, Mass spectrometry


Cell division is a fundamental biological process that occurs in all kingdoms of life. Our understanding of cell division in bacteria stems from studies in the rod-shaped model organisms: Gram-negative Escherichia coli and Gram-positive Bacillus subtilis. The molecular underpinnings of cell division regulation in non-rod-shaped bacteria remain to be studied in detail. Rod-shaped bacteria possess many positive and negative regulatory proteins that are essential to the proper placement of the division septa and ultimately the production of two identical daughter cells, many of which are absent in cocci. Given that essential cell division proteins are attractive antibacterial drug targets, it is imperative for us to identify key cell division factors especially in pathogens, to help counter the emergence of multi-drug resistance. In Staphylococcus aureus, a spherical Gram-positive opportunistic pathogen that causes a range of diseases from minor skin infections to life-threatening sepsis, we have identified the role of an essential protein, GpsB, in the regulation of cell division. We discovered that GpsB preferentially localizes to cell division sites and that overproduction of GpsB results in cell enlargement typical of FtsZ inhibition, while depletion of GpsB results in cell lysis and nucleoid-less minicell formation. The identification of GpsB’s interaction partners will allow us to understand the molecular mechanism by which GpsB regulates cell division.