The ability of Listeria monocytogenes to escape from an endocytic vacuole after engulfment by either professional phagocytic cells or parenchymal cells invaded as a result of the action of specific listerial surface proteins (Chap. 8) is of paramount importance for its survival in its hosts and one of the features that distinguishes it from almost all other facultative intracellular pathogens (Gaillard et al. 1987; Mounier et al. 1990; Tilney and Portnoy 1989). The PrfA regulon cluster consisting of the genes prfA, plcA, hly, mpl, actA, and plcB is organized to provide sequentially all of the proteins that assist in this process (Chap. 7). The properties of the products of these genes and their role in escape from a vacuole will be discussed in this chapter.
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