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PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e29277. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0029277. Epub 2012 Jan 3.

Recombinant probiotic expressing Listeria adhesion protein attenuates Listeria monocytogenes virulence in vitro.

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  • 1Molecular Food Microbiology Laboratory, Department of Food Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States of America.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Listeria monocytogenes, an intracellular foodborne pathogen, infects immunocompromised hosts. The primary route of transmission is through contaminated food. In the gastrointestinal tract, it traverses the epithelial barrier through intracellular or paracellular routes. Strategies to prevent L. monocytogenes entry can potentially minimize infection in high-risk populations. Listeria adhesion protein (LAP) aids L. monocytogenes in crossing epithelial barriers via the paracellular route. The use of recombinant probiotic bacteria expressing LAP would aid targeted clearance of Listeria from the gut and protect high-risk populations from infection.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

The objective was to investigate the ability of probiotic bacteria or LAP-expressing recombinant probiotic Lactobacillus paracasei (Lbp(LAP)) to prevent L. monocytogenes adhesion, invasion, and transwell-based transepithelial translocation in a Caco-2 cell culture model. Several wild type probiotic bacteria showed strong adhesion to Caco-2 cells but none effectively prevented L. monocytogenes infection. Pre-exposure to Lbp(LAP) for 1, 4, 15, or 24 h significantly (P<0.05) reduced adhesion, invasion, and transepithelial translocation of L. monocytogenes in Caco-2 cells, whereas pre-exposure to parental Lb. paracasei had no significant effect. Similarly, Lbp(LAP) pre-exposure reduced L. monocytogenes translocation by as much as 46% after 24 h. Lbp(LAP) also prevented L. monocytogenes-mediated cell damage and compromise of tight junction integrity. Furthermore, Lbp(LAP) cells reduced L. monocytogenes-mediated cell cytotoxicity by 99.8% after 1 h and 79% after 24 h.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

Wild type probiotic bacteria were unable to prevent L. monocytogenes infection in vitro. In contrast, Lbp(LAP) blocked adhesion, invasion, and translocation of L. monocytogenes by interacting with host cell receptor Hsp60, thereby protecting cells from infection. These data show promise for the use of recombinant probiotics in preventing L. monocytogenes infection in high-risk populations.

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