Undergraduate Institution: Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD
Clostridium difficile is a Gram-positive, opportunistic, nosocomial pathogen that causes antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) in nursing homes and hospitals. C. difficile encodes three ECF sigma factors. We are studying the role of these ECF sigma factors in virulence and in response to cell envelope stress. Our goals include identifying the extracellular stresses that activate these ECF sigma factors, understanding how ECF sigma factors provide resistance to these stresses, and evaluating the role these ECF sigma factors play in survival of the bacterium during an infection.