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FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2006 Jul;30(4):514-29.

Listeriolysin O: a key protein of Listeria monocytogenes with multiple functions.

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Faculté de Médecine, Université René Descartes-Paris 5, INSERM U-570, Paris, France.


Cholesterol-dependent cytolysins (CDCs) are produced by a large number of pathogenic Gram-positive bacteria. Most of these single-chain proteins are secreted in the extracellular medium. Among the species producing CDCs, only two species belonging to the genus Listeria (Listeria monocytogenes and Listeria ivanovii) are able to multiply intracellularly and release their toxins in the phagosomal compartment of the infected host cell. This review provides an updated overview on the importance of listeriolysin O (LLO) in the pathogenicity of L. monocytogenes, focusing mainly on two aspects: (1) the structure-function relationship of LLO and (2) its role in intra- and extracellular signalling. We first examine the specific sequence determinants, or protein domains, that make this cytolysin so well adapted to the intracellular lifestyle of L. monocytogenes. The roles that LLO has in cellular signalling events in the context of relations to pathogenesis are also discussed.

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