Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Nancy Bigley (Committee Chair), Barbara Hull (Committee Member), Oleg Paliy (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The intestinal mucosa maintains a barrier between materials from the external environment and the internal environment of the host. Disruption of the gut wall integrity is involved in the development of various intestinal diseases, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Crohn's disease. The intestinal mucosa is lined with epithelial cells that are connected by tight junctions, the intercellular junctions that form a selectively permeable barrier between paracellular pathways. Enteric pathogens, such as enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC), can disrupt the tight junctions of epithelial cells by altering the cellular cytoskeleton or by directly affecting tight junction proteins. Commensal Escherichia coli can also modify intestinal epithelial barrier function, however, the role of commensal E. coli in tight junction permeability is not fully understood. Here, the effects of enteropathogenic and commensal E. coli on intestinal epithelial barrier integrity, with a focus on tight junction permeability, will be discussed.

Page Count


Department or Program

Microbiology and Immunology

Year Degree Awarded