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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.02630

Galleria mellonella: an infection model for screening compounds against the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex

 Masanori Asai1, Yanwen Li2, Jasmeet Singh Khara2, 3,  Brian D. Robertson2,  Paul R. Langford2 and  Sandra M. Newton1*
  • 1Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, United Kingdom
  • 2Imperial College London, United Kingdom
  • 3National University of Singapore, Singapore

Drug screening models have a vital role in the development of novel antimycobacterial agents which are urgently needed to tackle drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB). We recently established the larvae of the insect Galleria mellonella (greater wax moth) as a novel infection model for the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. Here we demonstrate its use as a rapid and reproducible screen to evaluate antimycobacterial drug efficacy using larvae infected with bioluminescent Mycobacterium bovis BCG lux. Treatment improved larval survival outcome and, with the exception of pyrazinamide, was associated with a significant reduction in in vivo mycobacterial bioluminescence over a 96 hour period compared to the untreated controls. Isoniazid and rifampicin displayed the greatest in vivo efficacy and survival outcome. Thus G. mellonella, infected with bioluminescent mycobacteria, can rapidly determine in vivo drug efficacy, and has the potential to significantly reduce and/or replace the number of animals used in TB research.

Keywords: Galleria mellollella, Tuberculosis, Infection model, Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, Mycobacterium bovis BCG lux, drug screening, Antimycobacterial agents, mycobacteria

Received: 25 Jul 2019; Accepted: 29 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Asai, Li, Singh Khara, Robertson, Langford and Newton. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Sandra M. Newton, Imperial College London, Department of Medicine, London, SW7 2AZ, United Kingdom, s.newton@imperial.ac.uk