Listeria monocytogenes and the Genus Listeria

  • Nadia Khelef
  • Marc Lecuit
  • Carmen Buchrieser
  • Didier Cabanes
  • Olivier Dussurget
  • Pascale Cossart


The genus Listeria contains six species, two of which are pathogenic: Listeria monocytogenes, the food-borne human pathogen responsible for listeriosis, on which this chapter is focused, and L. ivanovii, an animal pathogen. Listeriae are Gram-positive rod-shaped bacteria with low G+C content, which are found in a variety of animals and niches, including processed food. They are resistant to extreme conditions, such as low temperature or high salt, demonstrating a great adaptability to their environment (Vazquez-Boland et al., 2001).

Listeria monocytogenes infections cause gastroenteritis, meningitis, neuro-encephalitis, chorioamnionitis, abortions, and neonatal infections. Listeriosis is associated with a high mortality rate, particularly in immunocompromized individuals (Schlech, 2000). In addition to its medical importance, L. monocytogenes contamination of food products raises important economic issues in the food industry.

Listeria monocytogenesis a facultative...

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© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nadia Khelef
  • Marc Lecuit
  • Carmen Buchrieser
  • Didier Cabanes
  • Olivier Dussurget
  • Pascale Cossart

There are no affiliations available

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