In vivo correlates of molecularly inferred virulence among extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) in the wax moth Galleria mellonella model system

Virulence. 2014 Apr 1;5(3):388-93. doi: 10.4161/viru.27912. Epub 2014 Feb 11.


In contrast to commensal Escherichia coli, extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC) strains possess an array of virulence-associated genes. We sought to establish the feasibility of using the invertebrate Galleria mellonella (greater wax moth) for assessing ExPEC virulence and to investigate the correlation between genotypic determinants of virulence and in vivo pathogenicity. We observed a correlation between the number of virulence genes and larval survival, such that ExPEC isolates with higher virulence scores killed larvae significantly faster than isolates with lower virulence scores. By correlating genotypic and phenotypic virulence, we provide preliminary validation of this model for future studies investigating ExPEC virulence.

Keywords: Escherichia coli; ExPEC; Galleria mellonella; in vivo; infection model; virulence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Assay
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development
  • Escherichia coli / pathogenicity*
  • Larva / metabolism
  • Larva / physiology
  • Moths / microbiology*
  • Moths / physiology
  • Survival Analysis
  • Virulence
  • Virulence Factors / genetics*


  • Virulence Factors