< Back to previous page

Publication

Optimization and characterization of a Galleria mellonella larval infection model for virulence studies and the evaluation of therapeutics against Streptococcus pneumoniae

Journal Contribution - e-publication

Streptococcus pneumoniae is the leading cause of bacterial pneumonia. Infection is linked to high morbidity and mortality rates and antibiotic resistance within this pathogen is on the rise. Therefore, there is a need for novel antimicrobial therapies. To lower the time and costs of the drug discovery process, alternative in vivo models should be considered. As such, Galleria mellonella larvae can be of great value. The larval immunity consisting of several types of haemocytes is remarkably similar to the human innate immune system. Furthermore, these larvae dont require specific housing, are cheap and are easy to handle. In this study, the use of a G. mellonella infection model to study early pneumococcal infections and treatment is proposed. Firstly, the fitness of this model to study pneumococcal virulence factors is confirmed using streptococcal strains TIGR4, ATCC®49619, D39 and its capsule-deficient counterpart R6 at different inoculum sizes. The streptococcal polysaccharide capsule is considered the most important virulence factor without which streptococci are unable to sustain an in vivo infection. KaplanMeier survival curves showed indeed a higher larval survival after infection with streptococcal strain R6 compared to strain D39. Then, the infection was characterized by determining the number of haemocytes, production of oxygen free radicals and bacterial burden at several time points during the course of infection. Lastly, treatment of infected larvae with the standard antibiotics amoxicillin and moxifloxacin was evaluated. Treatment has proven to have a positive outcome on the course of infection, depending on the administered dosage. These data imply that G. mellonella larvae can be used to evaluate antimicrobial therapies against S. pneumoniae, apart from using the larval model to study streptococcal properties. The in-depth knowledge acquired regarding this model, makes it more suitable for use in future research.
Journal: Frontiers in Microbiology
Volume: 10
Number of pages: 11
Publication year:2019
Keywords:Microbiology