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J Proteomics. 2010 Sep 10;73(10):2021-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jprot.2010.06.011. Epub 2010 Jul 8.

Proteomics for the elucidation of cold adaptation mechanisms in Listeria monocytogenes.

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Proteomic and Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry Center, Institute of Food Science, CNR, Avellino, Italy.


Listeria monocytogenes, one of the major food-related pathogens, is the aetiological agent of listeriosis, a potentially life-threatening illness. It is able to survive in hostile environments and stress conditions such as those encountered in food-processing technologies (high salt concentration, wide range of pH and temperature, low water availability) and it also thrives at temperatures ranging from -0.4 to 45 °C. In this study, expression proteomics was applied to gain insight into key cellular events that allow L. monocytogenes to survive and multiply even at refrigeration temperatures. Interestingly, we observed that the adaptation processes mainly affect biochemical pathways related to protein synthesis and folding, nutrient uptake and oxidative stress. Furthermore, proteins implicated in metabolic pathways for energy production, such as glycolysis and Pta-AckA pathway, were present to a higher level in the cells grown at 4 °C. This suggests that, on the whole, cells exhibit an enhanced demand for energy to sustain cold growth. Proteomics may represent a key tool in deciphering specific mechanisms underlying cold adaptation response and, more widely, cell machinery.

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