Listeria monocytogenes is a ubiquitous bacterium that causes significant foodborne disease with high mortality rates in immunocompromised adults. In pregnant women foodborne infection can give rise to infection of the fetus resulting in miscarriage. In addition, the bacterium has recently been demonstrated to cause localized gastrointestinal symptoms, predominantly in immunocompetent individuals. The murine model of systemic L. monocytogenes infection has provided numerous insights into the mechanisms of pathogenesis of this organism. However, recent application of transcriptomic and proteomic approaches as well as the development of new model systems has allowed a focus upon factors that influence adaptation to gastrointestinal environments and adhesion to and invasion of the gastrointestinal mucosa. In addition, the availability of a large number of complete L. monocytogenes genome sequences has permitted inter-strain comparisons and the identification of factors that may influence the emergence of 'epidemic' phenotypes. Here we review some of the exciting recent developments in the analysis of the interaction between L. monocytogenes and the host gastrointestinal tract.
University College Cork ->