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Mol Microbiol. 2006 Sep;61(6):1622-35.

The response regulator ResD modulates virulence gene expression in response to carbohydrates in Listeria monocytogenes.

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Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Stigbøjlen 4, DK-1870 Frederiksberg C, Denmark.


Listeria monocytogenes is a versatile bacterial pathogen that is able to accommodate to diverse environmental and host conditions. Presently, we have identified a L. monocytogenes two-component response regulator, ResD that is required for the repression of virulence gene expression known to occur in the presence of easily fermentable carbohydrates not found inside host organisms. Structurally and functionally, ResD resembles the respiration regulator ResD in Bacillus subtilis as deletion of the L. monocytogenes resD reduces respiration and expression of cydA, encoding a subunit of cytochrome bd. The resD mutation also reduces expression of mptA encoding the EIIABman component of a mannose/glucose-specific PTS system, indicating that ResD controls sugar uptake. This notion was supported by the poor growth of resD mutant cells that was alleviated by excess of selected carbohydrates. Despite the growth deficient phenotype of the mutant in vitro the mutation did not affect intracellular multiplication in epithelial or macrophage cell lines. When examining virulence gene expression we observed traditional induction by charcoal in both mutant and wild-type cells whereas the repression observed in wild-type cells by fermentable carbohydrates did not occur in resD mutant cells. Thus, ResD is a central regulator of L. monocytogenes when present in the external environment.

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