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Microbiology. 2010 Mar;156(Pt 3):809-18. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.031146-0. Epub 2009 Nov 5.

Listeria monocytogenes does not survive ingestion by Acanthamoeba polyphaga.

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School of Molecular and Biomedical Science, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide 5005, Australia.


Listeria monocytogenes is a ubiquitous bacterium capable of infecting humans, particularly pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals. Although the intracellular invasion and pathogenesis of listeriosis in mammalian tissues has been well studied, little is known about the ecology of L. monocytogenes , and in particular the environmental reservoir for this bacterium has not been identified. This study used short-term co-culture at 15, 22 and 37 degrees C to examine the interaction of L. monocytogenes strains with Acanthamoeba polyphaga ACO12. Survival of L. monocytogenes cells phagocytosed by monolayers of trophozoites was assessed by culture techniques and microscopy. A. polyphaga trophozoites eliminated bacterial cells within a few hours post-phagocytosis, irrespective of the incubation temperature used. Wild-type L. monocytogenes and a phenotypic listeriolysin O mutant were unable to either multiply or survive within trophozoites. By contrast, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium C5 cells used as controls were able to survive and multiply within A. polyphaga trophozoites. The data presented indicate that A. polyphaga ACO12 is unlikely to harbour L. monocytogenes, or act as an environmental reservoir for this bacterium.

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