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Res Microbiol. 1994 Nov-Dec;145(9):677-82.

Listeria monocytogenes infection of Caco-2 cells: role of growth temperature.

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Institute of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Rome La Sapienza, Italy.


The aim of the present study was to evaluate the role of temperature in the virulence of Listeria monocytogenes, a Gram-positive facultative intracellular food-borne pathogen. The capacity of bacteria grown at 37, 25 and 4 degrees C to develop haemolytic activity, to enter the Caco-2 enterocyte-like cell line and to multiply intracellularly was investigated. We demonstrated that L. monocytogenes penetration was not significantly influenced by the growth temperature of cultures and that bacteria grown at low temperature were capable of synthesizing internalin and, during the infection process, of restoring the haemolytic phenotype which is normally lacking in the extracellular environment at 4 and 25 degrees C. It can be concluded that L. monocytogenes, frequently present in numerous environmental sources and also in refrigerated food products, produces at low temperature, the virulence factors necessary to invade intestinal cells.

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