Escape of Listeria monocytogenes from a Vacuole

Howard Goldfine1 and Hélène Marquis2

1Department of Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6076, USA

2Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-6401, USA

Abstract: The ability of Listeria monocytogenes to escape from vacuoles of infected cells and subsequently to replicate in the cytosol and spread from cell to cell is one of the distinctive features of this facultative intracellular pathogen. The process of escape is mediated by several proteins that are encoded by genes in the PrfA regulon cluster. These include listeriolysin O, a pore-forming, cholesterol-dependent cytolysin, a phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C (PI-PLC), and a broad range phospholipase whose proteolytic activation is mediated by a metalloprotease. These proteins are described and their specific roles in escape from the vacuole are discussed.

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