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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2009 Sep;7(9):623-8. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2171. Epub 2009 Aug 3.

Listeria monocytogenes - from saprophyte to intracellular pathogen.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology (MC790), University of Illinois at Chicago, 835 South Wolcott Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 606127344, USA.


Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium that lives in the soil as a saprophyte but is capable of making the transition into a pathogen following its ingestion by susceptible humans or animals. Recent studies suggest that L. monocytogenes mediates its saprophyte-to-cytosolic-parasite transition through the careful modulation of the activity of a virulence regulatory protein known as PrfA, using a range of environmental cues that include available carbon sources. In this Progress article we describe the regulation of PrfA and its role in the L. monocytogenes transition from the saprophytic stage to the virulent intracellular stage.

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