Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Ana C. Vallor


Paul David Foglesong


Julian Davis


Lactobacilli in the vaginal tract have been reported be protective against infections with vaginal pathogenic microorganisms through the production of antimicrobial factors, competition for adherence to vaginal epithelium, and coaggregation with pathogens to aid in their clearing. In addition, the antimicrobial factors produced by certain species of lactobacilli have even been shown to interrupt the replication or alter the function of select viruses. Vaginal lactobacilli have been investigated for their antimicrobial characteristics, but little is known about the novel species L coleohominis. recently described in vaginal isolates (Nikolaitchouk et al. 2001). It was hypothesized that L coleohominis, found in the vaginal microenvironment. would have similar characteristics to L iners, a less protective inhabitant of the vagina. The goal of this thesis research was to initially characterize the antimicrobial factors of L coleohominis, investigate a possible S-layer protein, and later compare the characteristics of L coleohominis to other vaginal lactobacilli. The initial characterization involved analysis of cell and colony morphology, aggregation patterns, and lactic acid production. Further studies included reporting the reaction in litmus milk, investigating whether bacteriocins are produced, analyzing a possible S-layer protein gene through molecular means, and examining cell surface extracts through SDS-PAGE, UV-vis spectroscopy, intrinsic fluorescence spectroscopy, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Results indicated that L. coleohominis exhibited strong similarities to L. iners in regards to cell and colony morphology, aggregation patterns, and characteristics of cell surface proteins. These results suggest that L. coleohominis is likely a weak colonizer and would not provide the best protection against pathogenic microorganisms.

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