Senior Honors Theses

Publication Date

Spring 5-2016

School

School of Health Sciences

Major

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Keywords

bacteria, microbiology, transformation, metabolism, diabetes, lactose intolerance, intestine, mammal

Disciplines

Bacteriology | Biotechnology | Cellular and Molecular Physiology | Genetics | Human and Clinical Nutrition | Molecular Biology | Structural Biology

Abstract

Metabolic disorders affect around thirty-four percent of the population in the United States. Among these disorders is lactose intolerance, which results from diminished production of the human lactase enzyme. This disorder and others like it are genetically determined and cannot be cured. However, the use of transformed bacteria implanted in the colon may provide a means by which the faulty pathway can be bypassed. To test whether transformed bacteria have the capability to aid in the digestion of normally indigestible compounds, a transformed strain of Escherichia coli overexpressing the beta-galactosidase enzyme encoded by the lacZ gene was colonized in the mouse intestine to enhance lactose digestion. The experiment provides the platform for similar research to be conducted in the future.