Oral Bacterial Infection and Shedding in Drosophila Melanogaster

Jonathon Siva-Jothy, Arun Prakash, Radhakrishnan B. Vasanthakrishnan, Katy M. Monteith, Pedro Vale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is one of the best developed model systems of infection and innate immunity. While most work has focused on systemic infections, there has been a recent increase of interest in the mechanisms of gut immunocompetence to pathogens, which require methods to orally infect flies. Here we present a protocol to orally expose individual flies to an opportunistic bacterial pathogen (Pseudomonas aeruginosa) and a natural bacterial pathogen of D. melanogaster (Pseudomonas entomophila). The goal of this protocol is to provide a robust method to expose male and female flies to these pathogens. We provide representative results showing survival phenotypes, microbe loads, and bacterial shedding, which is relevant for the study of heterogeneity in pathogen transmission. Finally, we confirm that Dcy mutants (lacking the protective peritrophic matrix in the gut epithelium) and Relish mutants (lacking a functional immune deficiency (IMD) pathway), show increased susceptibility to bacterial oral infection. This protocol, therefore, describes a robust method to infect flies using the oral route of infection, which can be extended to the study of a variety genetic and environmental sources of variation in gut infection outcomes and bacterial transmission.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere57676
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE)
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2018


  • Infection
  • immunity
  • Drosophila
  • oral infection
  • bacterial shedding
  • Relish
  • Dcy


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