Date of Award

Spring 2009

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 2009 Jesse Handler. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Biology Department


UspC, like other members of the UspA superfamily, is induced in response to a variety of starvation conditions and environmental insults. The biochemistry and physiological role of UspC have remained largely uncharacterized. It has been established that strains of Escherichia coli deficient in uspC lack flagella. It was hypothesized that UspC is a positive regulator of the flagellar biosynthesis pathway. To test this hypothesis, several techniques were used. The motility of a uspC deficient strain of E. coli was rescued by introduction of flhDC, the master regulator of flagellar biosynthesis, on a plasmid under a constitutive promoter. Gene expression was compared in wild type and ∆uspC E. coli using microarrays. Finally, plasmids were constructed containing promoter regions from flagellar biosynthesis genes fliA and fliC transcriptionally fused to the lux operon. The results of these experiments suggest that UspC is indeed a positive regulator of the flagellar biosynthesis pathway and offer the opportunity for future experiments to better characterize the biochemistry of this enigmatic protein.