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J Gen Appl Microbiol. 2014;60(5):169-74.

Bacterial virulence analysis using brine shrimp as an infection model in relation to the importance of quorum sensing and proteases.

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Department of Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy, Pusan National University.


Brine shrimp are aquatic crustaceans belonging to a genus of Artemia. This organism is widely used for testing the toxicity of chemicals. In this study, brine shrimp were evaluated as an infection model organism to study bacterial virulence. Artemia nauplii were infected with various pathogenic bacteria, such as Vibrio vulnificus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Burkholderia vietnamiensis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli, and the susceptibility to these bacteria was investigated by counting the survival of the infected nauplii. While all of the tested bacteria have significant virulence to brine shrimp, killing the nauplii in a few days, V. vulnificus showed the strongest virulence. P. aeruginosa also showed a dose-dependent virulence to brine shrimp, but the virulence was weaker than that of V. vulnificus. The virulence tests using the virulence-attenuated mutants of V. vulnificus and P. aeruginosa, such as quorum sensing (QS) mutants or protease-deficient mutants showed a significant attenuation of virulence, demonstrating that the QS mechanism is important in the virulence of these bacteria to brine shrimp. B. vietnamiensis, S. aureus, and E. coli were also virulent to brine shrimp and the virulence was correlated with dosage within 24 h under our conditions. Salmonella enterica Typhimurium and Bacillus subtilis were also virulent to brine shrimp, but the virulence was weak and slowly exerted compared with that of other bacteria. Taken together, we suggest that brine shrimp are a good infection model to assay bacterial virulence, especially for V. vulnificus and P. aeruginosa, and QS is important in the bacterial virulence to brine shrimp.

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