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J Cell Biol. 2002 Aug 5;158(3):409-14. Epub 2002 Aug 5.

The cell biology of Listeria monocytogenes infection: the intersection of bacterial pathogenesis and cell-mediated immunity.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720, USA.


Listeria monocytogenes has emerged as a remarkably tractable pathogen to dissect basic aspects of cell biology, intracellular pathogenesis, and innate and acquired immunity. In order to maintain its intracellular lifestyle, L. monocytogenes has evolved a number of mechanisms to exploit host processes to grow and spread cell to cell without damaging the host cell. The pore-forming protein listeriolysin O mediates escape from host vacuoles and utilizes multiple fail-safe mechanisms to avoid causing toxicity to infected cells. Once in the cytosol, the L. monocytogenes ActA protein recruits host cell Arp2/3 complexes and enabled/vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein family members to mediate efficient actin-based motility, thereby propelling the bacteria into neighboring cells. Alteration in any of these processes dramatically reduces the ability of the bacteria to establish a productive infection in vivo.

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