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Mol Microbiol. 2011 Aug;81(4):860-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2011.07726.x. Epub 2011 Jul 4.

InlB-mediated Listeria monocytogenes internalization requires a balanced phospholipase D activity maintained through phospho-cofilin.

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Department for Hospital Infection Control & Research, Institute of Disease Control & Prevention of PLA, Academy of Military Medical Sciences, Beijing, China.


Internalization of Listeria monocytogenes into non-phagocytic cells is tightly controlled by host cell actin dynamics and cell membrane alterations. However, knowledge about the impact of phosphatidylcholine cleavage driven by host cell phospholipase D (PLD) on Listeria internalization into epithelial cells is limited. Here, we report that L. monocytogenes activates PLD in Vero cells during the internalization. With immunostaining it was shown that both PLD1 and PLD2 surrounded partially or completely the phagocytic cup of most L. monocytogenes. Either up- or down-regulation of PLD expression (activity) diminished Listeria internalization. Both PLD1 and PLD2 in Vero cells were required for efficient Listeria internalization, and could substitute for each other in the regulation of Listeria internalization. Further, exogenous InlB activated host cell PLD1 and PLD2 via the Met receptor, and restored host PLD activation by InlB-deficient L. monocytogenes. InlB-induced PLD activation and Listeria internalization were tightly controlled by phospho-cycling of cofilin. PLD1, but not PLD2, was involved in cofilin-mediated PLD activation and Listeria internalization. These data indicate that cofilin-dependent PLD activation induced by InlB may represent a novel regulation mechanism for efficient Listeria internalization into epithelial cells.

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