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Science. 2001 Jun 1;292(5522):1722-5.

A transgenic model for listeriosis: role of internalin in crossing the intestinal barrier.

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Unité des Interactions Bactéries-Cellules, Station Centrale de Microscopie Electronique, Institut Pasteur, 75724 Paris cedex 15, France.


Listeria monocytogenes is responsible for severe food-borne infections, but the mechanisms by which bacteria cross the intestinal barrier are unknown. Listeria monocytogenes expresses a surface protein, internalin, that interacts with a host receptor, E-cadherin, to promote entry into human epithelial cells. Murine E-cadherin, in contrast to guinea pig E-cadherin, does not interact with internalin, excluding the mouse as a model for addressing internalin function in vivo. In guinea pigs and transgenic mice expressing human E-cadherin, internalin was found to mediate invasion of enterocytes and crossing of the intestinal barrier. These results illustrate how relevant animal models for human infections can be generated.

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