Journal of Undergraduate Research


hemocyte, neutrophil extracellular traps, galleria mellonella


Life Sciences


Microbiology and Molecular Biology


Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) were recently found to be an additional method that neutrophils use to combat pathogens. They are composed of nuclear DNA and proteins that possess anti-microbial properties. Some studies suggest that in addition to killing pathogens, NETs also serve as a barrier to prevent pathogens from spreading. Mammalian infection models are known to possess NETs, but these models often raise ethical issues and can be quite costly. Using an insect such as Galleria mellonella is a valuable alternative. Insects possess an intricate innate immune response comparable to mammals in many ways. There is already substantial evidence indicating that cells in the hemolymph of G. mellonella phagocytose pathogens and produce antimicrobial peptides. However, research regarding extracellular traps remains elusive. In this project, we assessed the extracellular trap capabilities of G. mellonella larvae after exposure to Escherichia coli. The results from this study will potentially provide further support for using G. mellonella as an infection model.

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