Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Roni Kingsley

Second Advisor

Dr. Brad Goodner


In the past few decades there has been growing evidence that species of Agrobacterium can be opportunistic animal pathogens. One of these species is Agrobacterium tumefaciens, which for years has been studied as a plant pathogen. The results of one published experiment suggested that an Agrobacterium toxin could kill mice (12). Other strong evidence for Agrobacterium as an opportunistic human pathogen is the over fifty published clinical cases in which humans were infected by Agrobacterium species (3, 13-25). In almost all of these cases the patient was immunocompromised in some way and they often had an invasive procedure such as a catheter (3).

The main question is "Can Agrobacterium invade animal cells?" We asked this question because all previous clinical reports on the infection of humans by Agrobacterium species do not determine the mechanism of invasion for this pathogen. The invasion of host cells is not a priori required to be an animal pathogen. However, species of Brucella and Bartonella, which are close relatives of Agrobacterium, do invade host cells. Thus, we predicted that Agrobacterium also invades host cells.

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