1 National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark2 Division of Industrial Food Research, National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark3 Division of Food Microbiology, National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark4 Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark5 University of Copenhagen6 Copenhagen Center for Health Technology, Center, Technical University of Denmark
Listeria monocytogenes is an important food-borne bacterial pathogen and listeriosis can result in abortions in pregnant women. The bacterium can colonize food-processing environments, where specific molecular subtypes can persist for years. The purpose of this study was to determine the virulence potential of a group of food-processing persistent L. monocytogenes strains encoding a premature stop codon in inlA (encoding internalin A) by using two orally dosed models, pregnant mice and pregnant guinea pigs. A food-processing persistent strain of L. monocytogenes invaded placentas (n = 58; 10 % positive) and fetuses (3 % positive) of pregnant mice (n = 9 animals per strain), similar to a genetically manipulated murinized strain, EGD-e InlAm* (n = 61; 3 and 2 %, respectively). In pregnant guinea pigs (n = 9 animals per bacterial strain), a maternofetal strain (from a human fetal clinical fatal case) was isolated from 34 % of placenta samples (n = 50), whereas both food-processing persistent strains were found in 5 % of placenta samples (n = 36 or 37). One of the food-processing persistent strains, N53-1, was found in up to 8 % of guinea pig fetal liver and brain samples, whereas the maternofetal control was found in 6 % of fetal tissue samples. As the food-processing persistent strains carry a premature stop codon in inlA but are invasive in orally dosed pregnant mice and guinea pigs, we hypothesize that listerial crossing of the placental barrier can occur by a mechanism that is independent of an interaction between E-cadherin and InlA.
Journal of Medical Microbiology, 2013, Vol 62, Issue Pt 12, p. 1799-1806