Galleria melonella as an experimental in vivo host model for the fish-pathogenic oomycete Saprolegnia parasitica

Andreas Wuensch, Franziska Trusch, Nurul A Iberahim, Pieter Van West

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16 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Oomycetes are eukaryotic pathogens infecting animals and plants. Amongst them Saprolegnia parasitica is a fish pathogenic oomycete causing devastating losses in the aquaculture industry. To secure fish supply, new drugs are in high demand and since fish experiments are time consuming, expensive and involve animal welfare issues the search for adequate model systems is essential. Galleria mellonella serves as a heterologous host model for bacterial and fungal infections. This study extends the use of G. mellonella for studying infections with oomycetes. Saprolegniales are highly pathogenic to the insects while in contrast, the plant pathogen Phytophthora infestans showed no pathogenicity. Melanisation of hyphae below the cuticle allowed direct macroscopic monitoring of disease progression. However, the melanin response is not systemic as for other pathogens but instead is very local. The mortality of the larvae is dose-dependent and can be induced by cysts or regenerating protoplasts as an alternative source of inoculation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-189
Number of pages8
JournalFungal Biology
Issue number2-3
Early online date16 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Our work is supported by the University of Aberdeen (AW, PvW); BBSRC (BB/M026566/1 & BB/P020224/1: PvW); BBSRC (BB/N005058/1 & BB/J018333/1: FT & PvW); NERC (NE/P010873/1: PvW). We would like to acknowledge Joan Wilson and Bill Mathieson at NHS Grampian Biorepository (Aberdeen, Scotland) for help with histological experiments and Kevin McKenzie and his team at the Microscopy Core facility at the University of Aberdeen for assistance with microscopy and histology.


  • Galleria mellonella
  • host model
  • oomycetes
  • Saprolegnia parasitica


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