Listeria monocytogenes infection is most commonly recognized in ruminants, including cattle, sheep, and goats; but it is rarely diagnosed in poultry. This report describes an outbreak of L. monocytogenes in a backyard poultry flock. Also, it points out the importance of collaboration between veterinarians and public health departments and the possible implications of zoonotic diseases.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the susceptibility of 259 Listeria monocytogenes strains isolated from food and food-processing environments and patient samples in Germany to 14 antibiotics widely used in veterinary and human medicine. L. monocytogenes strains were isolated mainly from milk and milk products and classified according to their molecular serotypes IIa (n=112), IIb (n=41), IIc (n=36), IVa (n=1), IVb (n=66), and IVb-v1 (n=3).
Listeria monocytogenes can asymptomatically inhabit the human intestine as a commensal bacterium. However, the mechanism by which L. monocytogenes is able to inhabit the intestine without pathogenic symptoms remains unclear. Here, we compared the invasion efficiency of L. monocytogenes strains with the 268- and 385-bp-long actA gene. Clinical strains SMFM-CI-3 and SMFM-CI-6 with 268-bp actA isolated from patients with listeriosis and strains SMFM-SI-1 and SMFM-SI-2 with the 385-bp gene isolated from carcasses were used for inoculum preparation. The invasion efficiency of these strains was evaluated using Caco-2 cells (intestinal epithelial cell line), prepared as normal and healthy cells with tightened tight junctions and senescent cells with loose tight junctions, which were loosened by adriamycin treatment. The invasion efficiency of L. monocytogenes strains with the 268-bp-long actA gene was 1.12.6-times lower than that of the strains with the 385-bp-long gene in normal and healthy cells. However, the invasion efficiency of both types of strains did not differ in senescent cells. Thus, L. monocytogenes strains with the 268-bp-long actA gene can inhabit the intestine asymptomatically as a commensal bacterium, but they may invade the intestinal epithelial cells and cause listeriosis in senescent cells.
A 2014 multistate listeriosis outbreak was linked to consumption of caramel-coated apples, an unexpected and previously unreported vehicle for Listeria monocytogenes. This outbreak was unanticipated because both the pH of apples (<4.0) and the water activity of the caramel coating (<0.80) are too low to support Listeria growth. In this study, Granny Smith apples were inoculated with approximately 4 log10 CFU of L. monocytogenes (a cocktail of serotype 4b strains associated with the outbreak) on each apple's skin, stem, and calyx. Half of the apples had sticks inserted into the core, while the remaining apples were left intact. Apples were dipped into hot caramel and stored at either 7°C or 25°C for up to 11 or 28 days, respectively. Data revealed that apples with inserted sticks supported significantly more L. monocytogenes growth than apples without sticks under both storage conditions. Within 3 days at 25°C, L. monocytogenes populations increased >3 log10 in apples with sticks, whereas only a 1-log10 increase was observed even after 1 week for caramel-coated apples without sticks. When stored at 7°C, apples with sticks exhibited an approximately 1.5-log10 increase in L. monocytogenes levels at 28 days, whereas no growth was observed in apples without sticks. We infer that insertion of a stick into the apple accelerates the transfer of juice from the interior of the apple to its surface, creating a microenvironment at the apple-caramel interface where L. monocytogenes can rapidly grow to levels sufficient to cause disease when stored at room temperature.
The food-borne pathogen Listeria (L) monocytogenes is able to survive a variety of stress conditions leading to the colonization of different niches like the food processing environment. This study focuses on the hypervariable genetic hotspot lmo0443-lmo0449 haboring three inserts: the stress survival islet 1 (SSI-1), the single-gene insert LMOf2365_0481 and two homologous genes of the non-pathogenic species L. innocua: lin0464, a putative transcriptional regulator and lin0465, an intracellular PfpI protease. Our prevalence study revealed a different distribution of the inserts between human and food-associated isolates. The lin0464-lin0465 insert was predominantly found in food-associated strains of sequence type (ST) 121. Functional characterization of this insert showed that the putative PfpI protease Lin0465 is involved in alkaline and oxidative stress response, but not in acidic, gastric, heat, cold, osmotic and antibiotic stress. In parallel, deletion of lin0464 decreased the survival under alkaline and oxidative stress. The expression of both genes increased significantly under oxidative stress conditions independently of the alternative sigma factor σ(B) Furthermore, we showed that the expression of the protease lin0465 is regulated by the transcription factor lin0464 under stress conditions, suggesting that lin0464 and lin0465 form a functional unit.In conclusion, we identified a novel stress survival islet 2 (SSI-2), predominantly present in L. monocytogenes ST121 strains, beneficial for survival under alkaline and oxidative stress, potentially supporting adaptation and persistence of L. monocytogenes in food processing environments.IMPORTANCEListeria (L.) monocytogenes strains of ST121 are known to persist for months and even years in food processing environments, thereby increasing the risk of food contamination and listeriosis. However, the molecular mechanism underlying this remarkable niche-specific adaptation is still unknown. Here, we demonstrate that the genomic islet SSI-2, predominantly present in L. monocytogenes ST121 strains, is beneficial for survival under alkaline and oxidative stress conditions, which are routinely encountered in food processing environments. Our findings suggest that SSI-2 is part of a diverse set of molecular determinants contributing to niche-specific adaptation and persistence of L. monocytogenes ST121 strains in food processing environments.
Nisin is a natural preservative for many food products. This bacteriocin is mainly used in dairy and meat products. Nisin inhibits pathogenic food borne bacteria such as Listeria monocytogenes and many other Gram-positive food spoilage microorganisms. Nisin can be used alone or in combination with other preservatives or also with several physical treatments. This article reviews physicochemical and biological properties of nisin, the main factors affecting its antimicrobial effectiveness, and its food applications as an additive directly incorporated into food matrices.
Listeria monocytogenes is a major foodborne pathogen that causes life-threatening illnesses in humans. With emergence of antibiotic resistance in L. monocytogenes, there is considerable interest in testing the efficacy of alternative therapies for controlling listeriosis in humans. This study investigated the efficacy of three phytochemicals, namely trans-cinnamaldehyde (TC), carvacrol (CR), and thymol (TY) in reducing L. monocytogenes virulence in the recently established invertebrate model, Galleria mellonella. In addition, the effect of phytochemicals on the transcription of antimicrobial peptide genes in G. mellonella (responsible for host defense) was investigated using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. G. mellonella larvae were inoculated with L. monocytogenes (10(5) CFU/larvae) either with or without the subinhibitory concentration (chemical concentration not inhibiting bacterial growth) of phytochemicals. The larvae were incubated at 37 °C for 5 days, and their mortality was scored at 24-h intervals. The transcriptional response of the defense genes was studied in inoculated and uninoculated larvae at 6 h post challenge. The experiments were repeated at least six times with replicates. All phytochemicals enhanced the survival rates of G. mellonella infected with lethal doses of L. monocytogenes (P < 0.05). CR and TC at 0.01 % concentration were found to be the most effective treatments, and increased larval survival rates by 80 % and 50 %, respectively, on day 5 (P < 0.05). The phytochemicals also upregulated the expression of antimicrobial peptide genes in G. mellonella larvae challenged with L. monocytogenes (P < 0.05). Results suggest that TC, CR, and TY could potentially be used to control listeriosis. Further investigation in an appropriate mammalian model is warranted.
Listeria monocytogenes possesses the highest number of leucine-rich repeat (LRR) containing proteins among all gram-positive bacteria; these LRR-containing molecules are known as the “internalin” family. To understand the functions of largely uncharacterized LRR-containing molecules, we constructed seven deletion mutants in L. monocytogenes H7858 strain targeting genes in this family and tested their virulence. Among the seven mutants, the ΔLMOh7858_0369 strain and the ΔLMOh7858_2546 strain showed significantly impaired invasiveness to HepG2 cells. We further tested the virulence of these two strains in the intravascular sepsis model using BALB/c mice. Interestingly, the ΔLMOh7858_0369 strain showed significant reduction in organ colonization, bacteremia, and invasion of the brain compared to the parental wild type strain. Host immune responses to listerial intravascular infection were measured at 24 h and 72 h post infection. Transcript levels of several proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines were significantly lower when induced by the ΔlmOh7858_0369 strain than when induced by wild type. These results suggest that the putative LRR-containing protein encoded by LMOh7858_0369 might be a novel virulence factor of the L. monocytogenes H7858 strain.
Listeria monocytogenes 15G01, a strain belonging to the persistent pulsotype 5132, was isolated from a seafood processing plant in New Zealand. Simple monoculture assays using crystal violet staining showed good biofilm formation for this strain and it was therefore chosen to be further investigated in regard to its biofilm forming ability. To evaluate its behaviour in different conditions commonly encountered in food processing environments, biofilm assays and growth studies were performed using common laboratory media under a range of temperatures (20°C, 30°C and 37°C). Furthermore, the effects of incubation time and different environmental conditions including static, dynamic and anaerobic incubation on biofilm formation were investigated. Changes in the environmental conditions resulted in different biofilm phenotype of L. monocytogenes 15G01. We demonstrated that increasing temperature and incubation time led to a higher biofilm mass and that dynamic incubation has little effect on biofilm formation at 37°C but encourages biofilm formation at 30°C. Biofilm production at 20°C was minimal regardless of the medium used. We furthermore observed that anaerobic environment led to reduced biofilm mass at 30°C for all tested media but not at 37°C. Biofilm formation could not be narrowed down to one factor but was rather dependent on multiple factors with temperature and medium having the biggest effects.
Listeria monocytogenes infections are an important disease of ruminants worldwide, causing encephalitis, septicemia, and abortions. Ruminant listeriosis can also pose a food safety risk due to the potential for L. monocytogenes to enter the food supply via the farm environment. Data on the genetic diversity of L. monocytogenes from ruminant clinical cases in the United States is limited. Our goal was to assess the genetic diversity of clinical listeriosis isolates from ruminants in the Upper Great Plains states, a population not well-studied, and compare this population to isolates from ruminants in New York State. Multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) was used to classify and compare the genetic diversity of the isolates from the two regions. Loci sequences were compared to all known sequence types using the Pasteur Institute L. monocytogenes MLST database. Four novel sequence types (ST) were identified among the Upper Great Plains isolates, and four new STs were classified in the New York collection. Five STs were found to be common across the 2 geographical regions; ST 1, 7, 191, and 204. Strains of ST 7 were most frequently isolated (7/46 isolates). Strains of ST 91 were all associated with fetal infections from the Upper Great Plains. Our results demonstrate that while there are some subtypes commonly found between the two geographic regions, there are also subtypes distinct to each region.