Drug Discov Ther. 2011;5(2):66-70. (DOI: 10.5582/ddt.2011.v5.2.66)

Isolation of mammalian pathogenic bacteria using silkworms.

Kaito C, Usui K, Kyuma T, Sekimizu K


We developed a method to predict bacterial pathogenicity against mammals by measuring bacterial virulence in silkworms at 37°C, human body temperature. One hundred and twenty-two strains of bacteria were isolated from the intestines of fish and shellfish and tested for their virulence against silkworms. Overnight cultures of 50 strains killed at least 50% of the silkworms when injected into the hemolymph. Of 10 strains that showed the most potent pathogenicity against silkworms, 8 also killed mice within 4 days after injection, including Staphylococcus simiae and Staphylococcus pasteuri, neither of which was previously reported to be pathogenic against mammals. These findings suggest that bacterial pathogenicity against mammals can be predicted based on measurements of silkworm-killing activity.

KEYWORDS: Bacterial pathogenicity, mammals, silkworm infection model, S. simiae, S. pasteuri

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