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Listeria monocytogenes Database

Listeria monocytogenes Database

Project Background

Listeria monocytogenes is the causative agent of listeriosis, a systemic bacterial infection which causes miscarriage in pregnant women and is often fatal to immunocompromised individuals (Farber and Peterkin, 1991; Jurado et al, 1993). In addition, L. monocytogenes is a leading cause of meningitis in neonates and the elderly. Listeriosis is frequently fatal, causing an estimated 500 deaths annually in the US alone, with kill rates as high as 30% in treated individuals, and the fetal death rate caused by Listeria is most likely higher due to an unknown number of unexplained abortions attributable to Listeria.

L. monocytogenes is an NIAID category B bioterrorism agent. This bacterium is particularly dangerous because it can grow at low temperatures and under high salt conditions, and as a result it is commonly spread by contaminated food, such as soft cheese and meat products, even when they have been properly stored. Several large outbreaks of listeriosis have been traced back to food packaging plants, and we will be sequencing two strains isolated at the same food plant ten years apart.

Listeria can infect large number of possible mammalian hosts, in addition to birds, insects, and crustaceans. Different strains of Listeria show strong host preference, suggesting that genetic determinants guide host-pathogen interactions (Jeffers, et al. 2001; Weidmann, et al. 1997). Sequencing representative strains showing strong non-human host preference will permit discovery of bacterial factors important for human infection. Comparison with non-human pathogenic strains also will reveal the core complement of Listeria virulence factors. To this end, we are sequencing a number of Listeria animal isolates for comparison with existing and additional human isolates. A series of environmental and food isolates will also be sequenced to provide a measure of background sequence and gene content variability in Listeria.

Project data can be found by searching in NCBI for the following strains:

L. monocytogenes HPB2262

L. monocytogenes F6900

L. monocytogenes FSL J1-194

L. monocytogenes J2818

L. monocytogenes FSL N3-165

L. monocytogenes FSL R2-503

L. monocytogenes FSL J1-175

L. monocytogenes FSL J2-003

L. monocytogenes FSL F2-515

L. monocytogenes LO28

L. monocytogenes FSL J1-208

L. monocytogenes FSL J2-064

L. monocytogenes FSL R2-561

L. monocytogenes Finland 1998

L. monocytogenes FSL N1-017

L. monocytogenes FSL J2-071

L. monocytogenes J0161

L. monocytogenes 10403S

Project Collaborators

Martin Wiedmann, Cornell University

Bala Swaminathan, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Peter Lauer, Cerus Corporation

Dan Portnoy, UC Berkeley

Pascale Cossart, Institut Pasteur

Carmen Buchrieser, Institut Pasteur

Darren Higgins, Harvard Medical School


Farber, J. M. and P. I. Peterkin (1991) Microbiol. Rev. 55, 476-511.

Jurado, R. L., et al. (1993) Clin. Infect. Dis. 17, 224.

Nelson, K.E., et al. (2004) NAR 32(8):2386-2395.

Doumith, M., et al. (2004) Infection and Immunity 72(2):1072-1083.

Glaser, P., et al. (2001) Science 294:849-852.

Jeffers, G. T. et al. (2001) Microbiol. 147: 1095-1104.

Wiedmann, M., et al. (1997) Infect. Immun. 65:2707-2716.

This sequencing project was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, National Institutes of Health funded Genome Sequencing Center for Infectious Diseases at the Broad Institute.