Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

First Advisor

Dr. Upal Roy

Second Advisor

Dr. Chun Xu

Third Advisor

Dr. Eron Manusov


The Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV-1) continues to affect many individuals around the globe. Although people with HIV (PWH) have longer life expectancies because of modern treatments, they continue to exhibit comorbidities that are signs of premature aging compared to healthy individuals. The significance of the oral microbiome during HIV-1 infection has become of interest as chronic inflammatory conditions, such as periodontitis, have shed light on the detrimental effects of chronic inflammation. HIV-1 infection can promote dysbiosis, an imbalance of the oral microbiota, which in turn promotes the growth of opportunistic microorganisms such as P. gingivalis. This overpopulation enhances pathogenicity through the release of virulence factors such as lipopolysaccharides. In turn, a persistent inflammatory response is elicited and can lead to increased oxidative stress and immunosenescence (immune dysfunction tied to advanced age), systematically affecting the body. Part of the mechanisms of action include the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines as a response to lipopolysaccharides present in microorganisms. The present project hypothesizes that the presence of bacterial LPS can promote inflammation and accelerate aging during HIV-1 infection in an in-vitro model and that it can be assessed through detection of inflammasomes such as IL-1β, caspase-1, and NLRP3, and measurement of telomere length through qPCR of HIV-1 exposed Human Oral Keratinocytes.


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