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J Mol Microbiol Biotechnol. 2011;21(3-4):191-6. doi: 10.1159/000332737. Epub 2012 Jan 31.

Galleria mellonella as a model for studying Enterococcus faecium host persistence.

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EA2128, Service de Microbiologie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Université de Caen Basse-Normandie, Caen, France.


Enterococcus faecium is an opportunistic pathogen responsible for numerous outbreaks worldwide. The basis for the colonization capacities, host persistence and environmental stress response of the hospital-adapted clones emerging from E. faecium are poorly understood. In this study, we propose the use of Galleria mellonella as a simple nonmammalian model to assess E. faecium host persistence. Various strains (n = 10), including hospital-adapted, commensal or animal isolates and a SodA-deficient strain were used to assess the relevance of this model. Compared to Enterococcus faecalis, E. faecium strains do not appear very lethal in a Galleria killing assay. The ability of E. faecium strains to overcome host-immune responses and multiply within the host system was evaluated by monitoring bacterial loads following Galleria infection. Among the E. faecium strains, two hospital-adapted isolates displayed increased colonization ability. In contrast, inactivation of sodA, encoding a putative manganese-dependent superoxide dismutase, significantly reduced survival of E. faecium to Galleria defenses. Galleria appears to be a suitable and convenient surrogate model to study E. faecium survival to host defenses and the role of suspected virulence factors in the colonization process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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