8. Jun, 2017

Recent breakthroughs in the fight against Listeria Monocytogenes

The battle of commensal (normal, beneficial inhabitants) vs opportunistic bacteria is particularly important after antibiotic use.
Listeria Monocytogenes is a gram-positive bacterium responsible for a severe food-borne
disease characterised by meningitis (inflammation of brain & spinal cord), meningo-encephalitis (inflammation of membranes of brain & adjoining tissue), materno-foetal (mother & baby) and perinatal (immediately before & after birth) infections. It is also responsible for febrile (fever) gastroenteritis (symptoms include fever, headache, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, arthromyalgia and abdominal pain).
Researchers from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have found 4 species of the Clostridiales family protect against Listeria infection. The study also gives a fascinating insight into changes in the microbiome during late pregnancy.
Last month, a study by the University of Southern Denmark also found that Omega 3 fatty acids deactivate the genes responsible for the virulence (severity) of Listeria, leaving it vulnerable to attack.
A study combining these findings could lead to a treatment for those vulnerable to Listeria infections such as infants and pregnant women!
Becattini, S, Littmann, ER, Carter, RA, Kim, SG, Morjaria, SM, Ling, L, Gyaltshen, Y, Fontana, E, Taur, Y, Leiner, IM & Pamer, EG 2017, 'Commensal microbes provide first line defense against Listeria monocytogenes infection', The Journal of Experimental Medicine, http://jem.rupress.org/content/early/2017/06/05/jem.20170495?PR=
Cossart, P & Toledo-Arana, A 2008, 'Listeria monocytogenes, a unique model in infection biology: an overview', Microbes and Infection, vol. 10, no. 9, pp. 1041-1050.
Ooi, ST & Lorber, B 2005, 'Gastroenteritis Due to Listeria monocytogenes', Clinical Infectious Diseases, vol. 40, no. 9, pp. 1327-1332.
Sternkopf Lillebæk, E, Lambert Nielsen, S, Scheel Thomasen, R, Færgeman, N & Kallipolitis, B 2017, 'Antimicrobial medium- and long-chain free fatty acids prevent PrfA-dependent activation of virulence genes in Listeria monocytogenes', Research in Microbiology, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0923250817300621