Date of Award

Spring 2019

Thesis Type

Rollins Access Only

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts




Dr. Kasandra Riley

Committee Member

Dr. Brendaliz-Santiago

Committee Member

Dr. Jay Pieczynski


Staphylococcus is a genus of gram-positive bacteria important to the health of the human skin flora, participating in varied symbiotic relationships within niche microbiomes. Conservation of phenotypic associations have led to the identification of major regulatory networks for the bacterial interactome. Recent discoveries of small RNA effectors for virulence and metabolism, including RNAIII and RsaE, have provided model systems for the study of non-coding RNA pathways in Staphylococcus. The sRNAs RsaD, RsaH, and RsaI belong to a subfamily of ncRNAs, including RsaE, which possess a C-rich binding motif and conservation across Staphylococcal species. This investigation profiles the conservation of function and structure of these sRNAs across representative Staphylococcal species, including S. aureus, S. epidermidis, and S. carnosus, and identifies differential expression in the prokaryotic life cycle and in response to environmental stimuli. Identification of major sRNA networks, including special crosstalk, may yield novel therapeutic approaches for maintenance of a healthy microbiome. In addition, optimization of this experimental model, including bioinformatic approaches and reporter assays, will better inform future investigations of sRNA regulation.