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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Feb 15;83(5). pii: e02580-16. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02580-16. Print 2017 Mar 1.

Novel Cadmium Resistance Determinant in Listeria monocytogenes.

Author information

1
Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.
2
Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA sophia_kathariou@ncsu.edu.

Abstract

Listeria monocytogenes is a foodborne pathogen that can cause severe disease (listeriosis) in susceptible individuals. It is ubiquitous in the environment and often exhibits resistance to heavy metals. One of the determinants that enables Listeria to tolerate exposure to cadmium is the cadAC efflux system, with CadA being a P-type ATPase. Three different cadA genes (designated cadA1 to cadA3) were previously characterized in L. monocytogenes A novel putative cadmium resistance gene (cadA4) was recently identified through whole-genome sequencing, but experimental confirmation for its involvement in cadmium resistance is lacking. In this study, we characterized cadA4 in L. monocytogenes strain F8027, a cadmium-resistant strain of serotype 4b. By screening a mariner-based transposon library of this strain, we identified a mutant with reduced tolerance to cadmium and that harbored a single transposon insertion in cadA4 The tolerance to cadmium was restored by genetic complementation with the cadmium resistance cassette (cadA4C), and enhanced cadmium tolerance was conferred to two unrelated cadmium-sensitive strains via heterologous complementation with cadA4C Cadmium exposure induced cadA4 expression, even at noninhibitory levels. Virulence assessments in the Galleria mellonella model suggested that a functional cadA4 suppressed virulence, potentially promoting commensal colonization of the insect larvae. Biofilm assays suggested that cadA4 inactivation reduced biofilm formation. These data not only confirm cadA4 as a novel cadmium resistance determinant in L. monocytogenes but also provide evidence for roles in virulence and biofilm formation.IMPORTANCEListeria monocytogenes is an intracellular foodborne pathogen causing the disease listeriosis, which is responsible for numerous hospitalizations and deaths every year. Among the adaptations that enable the survival of Listeria in the environment are the abilities to persist in biofilms, grow in the cold, and tolerate toxic compounds, such as heavy metals. Here, we characterized a novel determinant that was recently identified on a larger mobile genetic island through whole-genome sequencing. This gene (cadA4) was found to be responsible for cadmium detoxification and to be a divergent member of the Cad family of cadmium efflux pumps. Virulence assessments in a Galleria mellonella model suggested that cadA4 may suppress virulence. Additionally, cadA4 may be involved in the ability of Listeria to form biofilms. Beyond the role in cadmium detoxification, the involvement of cadA4 in other cellular functions potentially explains its retention and wide distribution in L. monocytogenes.

KEYWORDS:

Listeria monocytogenes; biofilm; cadA; cadmium resistance; virulence

PMID:
27986731
PMCID:
PMC5311389
DOI:
10.1128/AEM.02580-16
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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