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J Biochem. 2006 Sep;140(3):439-44. Epub 2006 Aug 4.

Use of silkworm larvae to study pathogenic bacterial toxins.

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  • 1Laboratory of Microbiology, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 3-1, 7-chome, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033. sekimizu@mol.f.u-tokyo.ac.jp

Abstract

Injection of stationary phase culture-supernatants of Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa into the hemolymph of silkworm larvae caused their death, whereas a culture-supernatant of a non-pathogenic strain of Escherichia coli did not. A culture-supernatant of a mutant of agr, a global virulence regulator of S. aureus that is required for exotoxin production, was much less toxic to silkworm larvae. A culture-supernatant of a disruption mutant of the S. aureus beta-toxin gene did not kill larvae, whereas one of a deletion mutant of alpha-toxin, gamma-toxin, or aureolysin killed larvae, indicating that the beta-toxin gene is required for staphylococcal supernatant-mediated killing of silkworm larvae. The 50% lethal doses (LD50) of staphylococcal alpha-toxin and beta-toxin, Pseudomonas exotoxin A and diphtheria toxin were 12 microg/g, 9 microg/g, 0.14 microg/g and 1.1 microg/g, respectively. As the purified toxins killed the larvae, silkworm larvae could be used as a model to study the actions of pathogenic bacterial toxins in animal bodies.

PMID:
16891331
DOI:
10.1093/jb/mvj171
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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