No-one likes using animal models, but occasionally it is unaviodable to understand the pathogensis of infectious diseases. Recently, non-mamalian model systems, including amoeba, nematodes, insects, and fish, have been introduced to study host–pathogen interactions of human diseases.
Evaluation of invertebrate infection models for pathogenic corynebacteria. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 22 Mar 2012. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-695X.2012.00963.x
For several pathogenic bacteria, model systems for host-pathogen interactions were developed, which provide the possibility of quick and cost-effective high throughput screening of mutant bacteria for genes involved in pathogenesis. A number of different model systems, including amoeba, nematodes, insects, and fish, have been introduced, and it was observed that different bacteria respond in different ways to putative surrogate hosts, and distinct model systems might be more or less suitable for a certain pathogen. The aim of this study was to develop a suitable invertebrate model for the human and animal pathogens Corynebacterium diphtheriae, Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis, and Corynebacterium ulcerans. The results obtained in this study indicate that Acanthamoeba polyphaga is not optimal as surrogate host, while both Caenorhabtitis elegans and Galleria larvae seem to offer tractable models for rapid assessment of virulence between strains. Caenorhabtitis elegans gives more differentiated results and might be the best model system for pathogenic corynebacteria, given the tractability of bacteria and the range of mutant nematodes available to investigate the host response in combination with bacterial virulence. Nevertheless, Galleria will also be useful in respect to innate immune responses to pathogens because insects offer a more complex cell-based innate immune system compared with the simple innate immune system of C. elegans.