Quorum-sensing-regulated virulence factors in Pseudomonas aeruginosa are toxic to Lucilia sericata maggots

A. S. Andersen*, B. Jørgensen, T. Bjarnsholt, H. Johansen, T. Karlsmark, M. Givskov, K. A. Krogfelt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Maggot debridement therapy (MDT) is widely used for debridement of chronic infected wounds; however, for wounds harbouring specific bacteria limited effect or failure of the treatment has been described. Here we studied the survival of Lucilia sericata maggots encountering Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 in a simple assay with emphasis on the quorum-sensing (QS)- regulated virulence. The maggots were challenged with GFP-tagged P. aeruginosa wild-type (WT) PAO1 and a GFP-tagged P. aeruginosa DlasR rhlR (DRR) QS-deficient mutant in different concentrations. Maggots were killed in the presence of WT PAO1 whereas the challenge with the QS mutant showed a survival reduction of ∼25% compared to negative controls. Furthermore, bacterial intake by the maggots was lower in the presence of WT PAO1 compared to the PAO1 ΔRR mutant. Maggot excretions/secretions (ES) were assayed for the presence of QS inhibitors; only high doses of ES showed inhibition of QS in P. aeruginosa. Thus P. aeruginosa was shown to be toxic to L. sericata maggots. This, coupled to the preferential feeding by the maggots and reduced ingestion of P. aeruginosa, could explain MDT failure in wounds colonized by P. aeruginosa. Wounds heavily colonized with P. aeruginosa should be a counterindication for MDT unless used in combination with a pre-treatment with other topical therapeutics targeting P. aeruginosa.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)400-407
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

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