Increasing incidences of resistance to antibiotics by pathogenic bacteria is a worldwide concern and isolation of antibiotic-resistant strains of Niallia circulans (formerly known as Bacillus circulans), an opportunistic human pathogen, has been reported. Due to their lack of ethical constraints as well as their cost-effective rearing, invertebrates have been commonly used to study infection by bacteria pathogenic to humans. In this study, we demonstrate that a foodborne strain of N. circulans kills larvae of the silkworm, Bombyx mori within 48 h after hemolymph injection. The infected larvae turned black with an increase in the phenoloxidase (PO) activity in the hemolymph. Midgut injection of N. circulans resulted in the killing of larvae within 96 h. A significant increase in bacterial load was observed in the hemolymph 12 h after infection. The viable hemocyte number decreased to 48% within 12 h of injection. RT-qPCR analysis revealed that upon hemolymph infection with N. circulans the expression of the antimicrobial peptide (AMP) genes, Bmdefensin-B and Bmgloverin-3, were upregulated 2.5- and 1.8-fold, respectively, whereas 1.6-fold upregulation was observed for BmToll-2 in the larval fat body. Therapeutic effects of antibiotics like tetracycline, imipenem, ceftriaxone, ampicillin, and clindamycin were observed against N. circulans in the Bombyx larvae with varying efficacies. Results from this study suggest that larvae of B. mori can be used as infection models for screening therapeutics that are effective against N. circulans.
View full abstract