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Gene expression in Lucilia sericata (Diptera: Calliphoridae) larvae exposed to Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumanii identifies shared and microbe-specific induction of immune genes

By Claire H McKenna, Danial Asgari, Tawni C Crippen, Le Zheng, Ronald A Sherman, Jeffery K. Tomberlin, Richard P Meisel, Aaron M. Tarone

Posted 04 Apr 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.04.02.438197

Antibiotic resistance is a continuing challenge in medicine. There are various strategies for expanding antibiotic therapeutic repertoires, including the use of blow flies. Their larvae exhibit strong antibiotic and antibiofilm properties that alter microbiome communities. One species, Lucilia sericata, is used to treat problematic wounds due to its debridement capabilities and its excretions and secretions that kill some pathogenic bacteria. There is much to be learned about how L. sericata interacts with microbiomes at the molecular level. To address this deficiency, gene expression was assessed after feeding exposure (1 hour or 4 hours) to two clinically problematic pathogens: Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumanii. The results identified immunity related genes that were differentially expressed when exposed to these pathogens, as well as non-immune genes possibly involved in gut responses to bacterial infection. There was a greater response to P. aeruginosa that increased over time, while few genes responded to A. baumanii exposure and expression was not time-dependent. The response to feeding on pathogens indicates a few common responses and features distinct to each pathogen, which is useful in improving wound debridement therapy and helps develop biomimetic alternatives.

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