Date: 14 Mar 2013

Gene expression profiling of a nisin-sensitive Listeria monocytogenes Scott A ctsR deletion mutant

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Listeria monocytogenes is a food-borne pathogen of significant threat to public health. Nisin is the only bacteriocin that can be used as a food preservative. Due to its antimicrobial activity, it can be used to control L. monocytogenes in food; however, the antimicrobial mechanism of nisin activity against L. monocytogenes is not fully understood. The CtsR (class III stress gene repressor) protein negatively regulates the expression of class III heat shock genes. A spontaneous pressure-tolerant ctsR deletion mutant that showed increased sensitivity to nisin has been identified. Microarray technology was used to monitor the gene expression profiles of the ctsR mutant under treatments with nisin. Compared to the nisin-treated wild type, 113 genes were up-regulated (>2-fold increase) in the ctsR deletion mutant whereas four genes were down-regulated (<−2-fold decrease). The up-regulated genes included genes that encode for ribosomal proteins, membrane proteins, cold-shock domain proteins, translation initiation and elongation factors, cell division, an ATP-dependent ClpC protease, a putative accessory gene regulator protein D, transport and binding proteins, a beta-glucoside-specific phosphotransferase system IIABC component, as well as hypothetical proteins. The down-regulated genes consisted of genes that encode for virulence, a transcriptional regulator, a stress protein, and a hypothetical protein. The gene expression changes determined by microarray assays were confirmed by quantitative real-time PCR analyses. Moreover, an in-frame deletion mutant for one of the induced genes (LMOf2365_1877) was constructed in the wild-type L. monocytogenes F2365 background. ΔLMOf2365_1877 had increased nisin sensitivity compared to the wild-type strain. This study enhances our understanding of how nisin interacts with the ctsR gene product in L. monocytogenes and may contribute to the understanding of the antibacterial mechanisms of nisin.