Members of the fungal genus Fusarium are capable of manifesting in a multitude of clinical infections, most commonly in immunocompromised patients. In order to better understand the interaction between the fungus and host, we have developed the larvae of the greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella, as a heterologous host for fusaria. When conidia are injected into the haemocoel of this Lepidopteran system, both clinical and environmental isolates of the fungus are able to kill the larvae at 37 °C, although killing occurs more rapidly when incubated at 30 °C. This killing was dependent on several other factors besides temperature, including the Fusarium strain, the number of conidia injected, and the conidia morphology, where macroconidia are more virulent than their microconidia counterpart. There was a correlation in the killing rate of Fusarium spp. when evaluated in G. mellonella and a murine model. In vivo studies indicated G. mellonella haemocytes were capable of initially phagocytosing both conidial morphologies. The G. mellonella system was also used to evaluate antifungal agents, and amphotericin B was able to confer a significant increase in survival to Fusarium-infected larvae. The G. mellonella-Fusarium pathogenicity system revealed that virulence of Fusarium spp. is similar, regardless of the origin of the isolate, and that mammalian endothermy is a major deterrent for Fusarium infection and therefore provides a suitable alternative to mammalian models to investigate the interaction between the host and this increasingly important fungal pathogen.
- Antifungal agent
- Heterologous host
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Infectious Diseases