Among four mycobacteria, Mycobacterium avium, M. intracellulare, M. bovis BCG and Mycobacteroides (My.) abscessus, we established a silkworm infection assay with My. abscessus. When silkworms (fifth-instar larvae, n = 5) were infected through the hemolymph with My. abscessus (7.5 × 107 CFU/larva) and bred at 37 °C, they all died around 40 h after injection. Under the conditions, clarithromycin and amikacin, clinically used antimicrobial agents, exhibited therapeutic effects in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, five kinds of microbial compounds, lariatin A, nosiheptide, ohmyungsamycins A and B, quinomycin and steffimycin, screened in an in vitro assay to observe anti-My. abscessus activity from 400 microbial products were evaluated in this silkworm infection assay. Lariatin A and nosiheptide exhibited therapeutic efficacy. The silkworm infection model with My. abscessus is useful to screen for therapeutically effective anti-My. abscessus antibiotics.
Keywords: Mycobacterium avium complex; Mycobacteroides abscessus; antimycobacterial activity; lariatin; microbial product; mycobacteria; nontuberculous mycobacteria; nosiheptide; ohmyungsamycin; quinomycin; silkworm; steffimycin.