Using Caenorhabditis elegans for antimicrobial drug discovery

Athanasios Desalermos, Maged Muhammed, Justin Glavis-Bloom, Eleftherios Mylonakis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Introduction: The number of microorganism strains with resistance to known antimicrobials is increasing. Therefore, there is a high demand for new, non-toxic and efficient antimicrobial agents. Research with the microscopic nematode Caenorhabditis elegans can address this high demand for the discovery of new antimicrobial compounds. In particular, C. elegans can be used as a model host for in vivo drug discovery through high-throughput screens of chemical libraries. Areas covered: This review introduces the use of substitute model hosts and especially C. elegans in the study of microbial pathogenesis. The authors also highlight recently published literature on the role of C. elegans in drug discovery and outline its use as a promising host with unique advantages in the discovery of new antimicrobial drugs. Expert opinion: Caenorhabditis elegans can be used, as a model host, to research many diseases, including fungal infections and Alzheimer's disease. In addition, high-throughput techniques for screening chemical libraries can also be facilitated. Nevertheless, C. elegans and mammals have significant differences that both limit the use of the nematode in research and the degree by which results can be interpreted. That being said, the use of C. elegans in drug discovery still holds promise and the field continues to grow, with attempts to improve the methodology already underway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)645-652
Number of pages8
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Discovery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Candida albicans
  • drug discovery
  • high throughput
  • model host

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery


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