Differences in virulence and in expression of PrfA and PrfA-regulated virulence genes of Listeria monocytogenes strains belonging to serogroup 4

Z Sokolovic, S Schuller, J Bohne, A Baur, U Rdest, C Dickneite, T Nichterlein, W Goebel

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Listeria monocytogenes isolates belonging to serogroup 4 (subtypes 4a, 4ab, 4b, 4c, 4d, and 4e) exhibit different levels of virulence in mice. Molecular studies indicate that in comparison with the control strain EGD (serotype 1/2a), these strains differ in the expression of the PrfA-regulated virulence genes, including prfA itself. Strains of serotypes 4c, 4d, 4e, and especially 4a show a low level of invasiveness in Caco-2 cells, which correlates in part with the low level of expression of the inlA gene. All serotypes reach the cytoplasm, at the latest, 2 h postinfection and become surrounded by polymerized actin within the next hour, but actin tail formation by serotype 4a, 4c, 4d, and 4e strains is drastically reduced. The actA genes in these serogroup 4 strains are expressed in minimum essential medium and within the phagocytic cell line J774. However, the amounts and (in part) the sizes of the ActA proteins in these strains differ under these conditions. The reduced actin tail formation by serotype 4a, 4c, 4d, and 4e strains may be due to the low level of in vivo expression of ActA. In addition, the loss of one repeat unit in the ActA proteins of serotype 4a and 4e strains may also contribute to the less efficient actin tail formation observed with these strains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4008-4019
Number of pages12
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1996

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