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J Infect Dis. 2004 Jun 1;189(11):2094-100. Epub 2004 May 14.

A molecular marker for evaluating the pathogenic potential of foodborne Listeria monocytogenes.

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1
Laboratoire des Listeria, Centre National de Référence des Listeria, World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Foodborne Listeriosis, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Internalin mediates entry of Listeria monocytogenes into some human cultured cell lines and crossing of the intestinal barrier in transgenic mice expressing its receptor, human E-cadherin, in enterocytes. The relevance of these findings for humans is challenged by the observation that some L. monocytogenes isolates express a truncated nonfunctional form of internalin.

METHODS:

We investigated expression of internalin by use of immunoblot assay in 300 clinical strains obtained in France in a single year and a representative set of 150 strains obtained from food products during the same period.

RESULTS:

Clinical strains expressed full-length internalin far more frequently (288/300 strains [96%]) than did strains recovered from food products (98/150 strains [65%]; odds ratio, 12.73; 95% confidence interval, 6.27-26.34; P<1 x 10(-7)). All 61 strains (100%) from pregnancy-related cases, 55 (98%) of 56 strains from patients with central nervous system infections, and 151 (93%) of 162 strains from patients with bacteremia expressed full-length internalin. All 110 strains belonging to serovar 4b, the most frequently implicated serovar in human listeriosis, expressed full-length internalin.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study demonstrates the critical role of internalin in the pathogenesis of human listeriosis. It provides a molecular explanation for the predominance of serovar 4b among clinical strains and supports the usefulness of studying the expression of internalin as a marker of virulence in humans.

PMID:
15143478
DOI:
10.1086/420853
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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