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Global transcriptomic response of Listeria monocytogenes during growth on cantaloupe slices

Kang, Jihun, Burall, Laurel, Mammel, Mark K., Datta, Atin R.
Food microbiology 2019 v.77 pp. 192-201
Listeria monocytogenes, biosynthesis, cantaloupes, carbohydrate metabolism, foods, gastric juice, gene expression regulation, iron, isoleucine, leucine, messenger RNA, microarray technology, operon, pathogens, refrigeration, transcription (genetics), transcriptomics, valine, virulence
Understanding a pathogen's response to food environments is imperative to develop effective control strategies as well as to elucidate the impact of foods on virulence potential. The purpose of this study was to assess transcriptional response of Listeria monocytogenes after growth in cantaloupe, as well as its impact on survival in synthetic gastric fluid (SGF). The transcriptional profiles of L. monocytogenes grown in cantaloupe or Brain Heart Infusion (BHI) under refrigeration were compared by a custom-designed microarray. A total of 286 and 175 genes were significantly up- and down-regulated, respectively, in L. monocytogenes grown in cantaloupe as compared to BHI (fold change ≥ 2.5 and adj. P < 0.05). The majority of upregulated genes belonged to functions related to amino acid and nucleotide metabolism, flagellar biosynthesis, and iron acquisition, while most downregulated genes belonged to carbohydrate metabolism. Notably, the branched chain amino acid (BCAA: leucine, isoleucine, valine) biosynthesis operon was shown to be highly upregulated as well as the purine and pyrimidine biosynthesis pathways. Transcript levels of several stress- and virulence-related genes were significantly altered, implying an impact of growth in cantaloupe on the virulence potential of L. monocytogenes. Enhanced survival of L. monocytogenes in SGF following growth in cantaloupe further demonstrated the impact of cantaloupe-associated growth on the pathogen's subsequent response to a host relevant stress.