Validation of Predicted Virulence Factors in Listeria monocytogenes Identified Using Comparative Genomics.
ABSTRACT: Listeria monocytogenes is an intracellular facultative pathogen that causes listeriosis, a foodborne zoonotic infection. There are differences in the pathogenic potential of L. monocytogenes subtypes and strains. Comparison of the genome sequences among L. monocytogenes pathogenic strains EGD-e and F2365 with nonpathogenic L. innocua CLIP1182 and L. monocytogenes strain HCC23 revealed a set of proteins that were present in pathogenic strains and had no orthologs among the nonpathogenic strains. Among the candidate virulence factors are five proteins: putrescine carbamoyltransferase; InlH/InlC2 family class 1 internalin; phosphotransferase system (PTS) fructose transporter subunit EIIC; putative transketolase; and transcription antiterminator BglG family. To determine if these proteins have a role in adherence and invasion of intestinal epithelial Caco-2 cells and/or contribute to virulence, five mutant strains were constructed. F2365?inlC2, F2365?eiic, and F2365?tkt exhibited a significant (p < 0.05) reduction in adhesion to Caco-2 cells compared to parent F2365 strain. The invasion of F2365?aguB, F2365?inlC2, and F2365?bglG decreased significantly (p < 0.05) compared with the parent strain. Bacterial loads in mouse liver and spleen infected by F2365 was significantly (p < 0.05) higher than it was for F2365?aguB, F2365?inlC2, F2365?eiic, F2365?tkt, and F2365?bglG strains. This study demonstrates that aguB, inlC2, eiic, tkt, and bglG play a role in L. monocytogenes pathogenicity.
Project description:More than 98% of reported human listeriosis cases are caused by specific serotypes within genetic lineages I and II. The genome sequence of Listeria monocytogenes lineage III strain HCC23 (serotype 4a) enables whole genomic comparisons across all three L. monocytogenes lineages. Protein cluster analysis indicated that strain HCC23 has the most unique protein pairs with nonpathogenic species Listeria innocua. Orthology analysis of the genome sequences of representative strains from the three L. monocytogenes genetic lineages and L. innocua (CLIP11262) identified 319 proteins unique to nonpathogenic strains HCC23 and CLIP11262 and 58 proteins unique to pathogenic strains F2365 and EGD-e. BLAST comparison of these proteins with all the sequenced L. monocytogenes and L. innocua revealed 126 proteins unique to serotype 4a and/or L. innocua; 14 proteins were only found in pathogenic serotypes. Some of the 58 proteins unique to pathogenic strains F2365 and EGD-e were previously published and are already known to contribute to listerial virulence.
Project description:The capacity of Listeria monocytogenes to adapt to environmental changes is facilitated by a large number of regulatory proteins encoded by its genome. Among these proteins are the uncharacterized LysR-type transcriptional regulators (LTTRs). LTTRs can work as positive and/or negative transcription regulators at both local and global genetic levels. Previously, our group determined by comparative genome analysis that one member of the LTTRs (NCBI accession no. WP_003734782) was present in pathogenic strains but absent from nonpathogenic strains. The goal of the present study was to assess the importance of this transcription factor in the virulence of L. monocytogenes strain F2365 and to identify its regulons. An L. monocytogenes strain lacking lysR (the F2365?lysR strain) displayed significant reductions in cell invasion of and adhesion to Caco-2 cells. In plaque assays, the deletion of lysR resulted in a 42.86% decrease in plaque number and a 13.48% decrease in average plaque size. Furthermore, the deletion of lysR also attenuated the virulence of L. monocytogenes in mice following oral and intraperitoneal inoculation. The analysis of transcriptomics revealed that the transcript levels of 139 genes were upregulated, while 113 genes were downregulated in the F2365?lysR strain compared to levels in the wild-type bacteria. lysR-repressed genes included ABC transporters, important for starch and sucrose metabolism as well as glycerolipid metabolism, flagellar assembly, quorum sensing, and glycolysis/gluconeogenesis. Conversely, lysR activated the expression of genes related to fructose and mannose metabolism, cationic antimicrobial peptide (CAMP) resistance, and beta-lactam resistance. These data suggested that lysR contributed to L. monocytogenes virulence by broad impact on multiple pathways of gene expression.IMPORTANCE Listeria monocytogenes is the causative agent of listeriosis, an infectious and fatal disease of animals and humans. In this study, we have shown that lysR contributes to Listeria pathogenesis and replication in cell lines. We also highlight the importance of lysR in regulating the transcription of genes involved in different pathways that might be essential for the growth and persistence of L. monocytogenes in the host or under nutrient limitation. Better understanding L. monocytogenes pathogenesis and the role of various virulence factors is necessary for further development of prevention and control strategies.
Project description:Listeria monocytogenes strain F2365 was the first strain representative of serotype 4b (lineage I) to be sequenced in 2004, suggesting it could become the model organism for this serotype, which is associated with most human outbreaks of listeriosis worldwide to date. F2365 itself is an outbreak strain involved in the Mexican-style soft cheese outbreak in California in 1985. In this study we show through phenotypic and transcriptomic analysis that L. monocytogenes strain F2365 has reduced ability to respond to stress due to the absence of a functional σB-dependent stress response system. F2365 shows no B-dependent ability to survive acid or oxidative stress nor B-dependent ability to infect Caco-2 epithelial cell in vitro or guinea pigs in vivo. Therefore, there is substantial evidence that F2365 is an atypical strain and is not a suitable representative of outbreak-associated serotype 4b strains. Independent RNA isolations were performed for F2365 and ΔsigB strains from cells grown to early stationary phase. Three biological replicates were used in competitive whole-genome microarray experiments. For each set of hybridizations, RNA from a L. monocytogenes wildtype strain was hybridized with RNA from its isogenic ΔsigB null mutant.
Project description:The formation of Listeria monocytogenes biofilms contributes to persistent contamination in food processing facilities. A microarray comparison of L. monocytogenes between the transcriptome of the strong biofilm forming strain (Bfm(s)) Scott A and the weak biofilm forming (Bfm(w)) strain F2365 was conducted to identify genes potentially involved in biofilm formation. Among 951 genes with significant difference in expression between the two strains, a GntR-family response regulator encoding gene (LMOf2365_0414), designated lbrA, was found to be highly expressed in Scott A relative to F2365. A Scott A lbrA-deletion mutant, designated AW3, formed biofilm to a much lesser extent as compared to the parent strain by a rapid attachment assay and scanning electron microscopy. Complementation with lbrA from Scott A restored the Bfm(s) phenotype in the AW3 derivative. A second microarray assessment using the lbrA deletion mutant AW3 and the wild type Scott A revealed a total of 304 genes with expression significantly different between the two strains, indicating the potential regulatory role of LbrA in L. monocytogenes. A cloned copy of Scott A lbrA was unable to confer enhanced biofilm forming potential in F2365, suggesting that additional factors contributed to weak biofilm formation by F2365.
Project description:Listeria monocytogenes is a gram-positive, food-borne pathogen that causes disease in both humans and animals. There are three major genetic lineages of L. monocytogenes and 13 serovars. To further our understanding of the differences that exist between different genetic lineages/serovars of L. monocytogenes, we analyzed the global protein expression of the serotype 1/2a strain EGD and the serotype 4b strain F2365 during early-stationary-phase growth at 37 degrees C. Using multidimensional protein identification technology with electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry, we identified 1,754 proteins from EGD and 1,427 proteins from F2365, of which 1,077 were common to both. Analysis of proteins that had significantly altered expression between strains revealed potential biological differences between these two L. monocytogenes strains. In particular, the strains differed in expression of proteins involved in cell wall physiology and flagellar biosynthesis, as well as DNA repair proteins and stress response proteins.
Project description:Listeria monocytogenes is a food-borne pathogen with a clonal population structure and apparently limited gene flow between strains of different lineages. Strains of epidemic clone I (ECI) have been responsible for numerous outbreaks and invariably have DNA that is resistant to digestion by Sau3AI, suggesting methylation of cytosine at GATC sites. A putative restriction-modification (RM) gene cassette has been identified in the genome of the ECI strain F2365 and all other tested ECI strains but is absent from other strains of the same serotype (4b). Homologous RM cassettes have not been reported among L. monocytogenes isolates of other serotypes. Furthermore, conclusive evidence for the involvement of this RM cassette in the Sau3AI resistance phenotype of ECI strains has been lacking. In this study, we describe a highly conserved RM cassette in certain strains of serotypes 1/2a and 4a that have Sau3AI-resistant DNA. In these strains the RM cassette was in the same genomic location as in the ECI reference strain F2365. The cassette included a gene encoding a putative recombinase, suggesting insertion via site-specific recombination. Deletion of the RM cassette in the ECI strain F2365 and the serotype 1/2a strain A7 rendered the DNA of both strains susceptible to Sau3AI digestion, providing conclusive evidence that the cassette includes a gene required for methylation of cytosine at GATC sites in both strains. The findings suggest that, in addition to its presence in ECI strains, this RM cassette and the accompanying genomic DNA methylation is also encountered among selected strains of other lineages.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:To investigate the contribution to virulence of the surface protein internalin B (InlB) in the Listeria monocytogenes lineage I strain F2365, which caused a deadly listeriosis outbreak in California in 1985. METHODS:The F2365 strain displays a point mutation that hampers expression of InlB. We rescued the expression of InlB in the L. monocytogenes lineage I strain F2365 by introducing a point mutation in the codon 34 (TAA to CAA). We investigated its importance for bacterial virulence using in vitro cell infection systems and a murine intravenous infection model. RESULTS:In HeLa and JEG-3 cells, the F2365 InlB+ strain expressing InlB was ?9-fold and ?1.5-fold more invasive than F2365, respectively. In livers and spleens of infected mice at 72 hours after infection, bacterial counts for F2365 InlB+ were significantly higher compared to the F2365 strain (?1 log more), and histopathologic assessment showed that the F2365 strain displayed a reduced number of necrotic foci compared to the F2365 InlB+ strain (Mann-Whitney test). CONCLUSIONS:InlB plays a critical role during infection of nonpregnant animals by a L. monocytogenes strain from lineage I. A spontaneous mutation in InlB could have prevented more severe human morbidity and mortality during the 1985 California listeriosis outbreak.
Project description:Some Listeria monocytogenes internalins are recognized as contributing to invasion of mammalian tissue culture cells. While PrfA is well established as a positive regulator of L. monocytogenes virulence gene expression, the stress-responsive sigma(B) has been recognized only recently as contributing to expression of virulence genes, including some that encode internalins. To measure the relative contributions of PrfA and sigma(B) to internalin gene transcription, we used reverse transcription-PCR to quantify transcript levels for eight internalin genes (inlA, inlB, inlC, inlC2, inlD, inlE, inlF, and inlG) in L. monocytogenes 10403S and in isogenic Delta prfA, Delta sigB, and Delta sigB Delta prfA strains. Strains were grown under defined conditions to produce (i) active PrfA, (ii) active sigma(B) and active PrfA, (iii) inactive PrfA, and (iv) active sigma(B) and inactive PrfA. Under the conditions tested, sigma(B) and PrfA contributed differentially to the expression of the various internalins such that (i) both sigma(B) and PrfA contributed to inlA and inlB transcription, (ii) only PrfA contributed to inlC transcription, (iii) only sigma(B) contributed to inlC2 and inlD transcription, and (iv) neither sigma(B) nor PrfA contributed to inlF and inlG transcription. inlE transcript levels were undetectable. The important role for sigma(B) in regulating expression of L. monocytogenes internalins suggests that exposure of this organism to environmental stress conditions, such as those encountered in the gastrointestinal tract, may activate internalin transcription. Interplay between sigma(B) and PrfA also appears to be critical for regulating transcription of some virulence genes, including inlA, inlB, and prfA.
Project description:Microtemperature gradient gel electrophoresis (mu-TGGE) was examined for use for the rapid subtyping of Listeria monocytogenes strains. Comparison of genomes between L. monocytogenes strains F2365 and H7858 identified a sequence encoding a portion of the PRT/PTS system IIA 2 protein domain as appropriate for mu-TGGE analysis. Thirty-one strains belonging to 10 different serovar types were tested by PCR, and sequence analysis of the amplified products revealed that the strains comprise 11 groups. All 55 possible pairs within the 11 groups were examined by mu-TGGE analysis. Of these, 47 pairs could be successfully discriminated, with a total electrophoresis time of only 7 min. Moreover, Cy3/Cy5 labeling allowed rapid identification of the sequence type in unknown strains of L. monocytogenes isolated from meat. These findings collectively indicate that mu-TGGE can be used for the rapid analysis of L. monocytogenes strains, facilitating determination of routes of contamination when these bacteria are found in food products.
Project description:Listeria monocytogenes is a gram-positive, food-borne microorganism responsible for invasive infections with a high overall mortality. L. monocytogenes is among the very few microorganisms that can induce uptake into the host cell and subsequently enter the host cell cytosol by breaching the vacuolar membrane. We infected the murine macrophage cell line P388D1 with L. monocytogenes strain EGD-e and examined the gene expression profile of L. monocytogenes inside the vacuolar and cytosolic environments of the host cell by using whole-genome microarray and mutant analyses. We found that approximately 17% of the total genome was mobilized to enable adaptation for intracellular growth. Intracellularly expressed genes showed responses typical of glucose limitation within bacteria, with a decrease in the amount of mRNA encoding enzymes in the central metabolism and a temporal induction of genes involved in alternative-carbon-source utilization pathways and their regulation. Adaptive intracellular gene expression involved genes that are associated with virulence, the general stress response, cell division, and changes in cell wall structure and included many genes with unknown functions. A total of 41 genes were species specific, being absent from the genome of the nonpathogenic Listeria innocua CLIP 11262 strain. We also detected 25 genes that were strain specific, i.e., absent from the genome of the previously sequenced L. monocytogenes F2365 serotype 4b strain, suggesting heterogeneity in the gene pool required for intracellular survival of L. monocytogenes in host cells. Overall, our study provides crucial insights into the strategy of intracellular survival and measures taken by L. monocytogenes to escape the host cell responses.