Overexpression of PrfA leads to growth inhibition of Listeria monocytogenes in glucose-containing culture media by interfering with glucose uptake

Alexandra K. Marr, B. Joseph, S. Mertins, R. Ecke, S. Müller-Altrock, W. Goebel

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Listeria monocytogenes strains expressing high levels of the virulence regulator PrfA (mutant PrfA* or wild-type PrfA) show strong growth inhibition in minimal media when they are supplemented with glucose but not when they are supplemented with glucose-6-phosphate compared to the growth of isogenic strains expressing low levels of PrfA. A significantly reduced rate of glucose uptake was observed in a PrfA*-overexpressing strain growing in LB supplemented with glucose. Comparative transcriptome analyses were performed with RNA isolated from a prfA mutant and an isogenic strain carrying multiple copies of prfA or prfA* on a plasmid. These analyses revealed that in addition to high transcriptional up-regulation of the known PrfA-regulated virulence genes (group I), there was less pronounced up-regulation of the expression of several phage and metabolic genes (group II) and there was strong down-regulation of several genes involved mainly in carbon and nitrogen metabolism in the PrfA*-overexpressing strain (group III). Among the latter genes are the nrgAB, gltAB, and glnRA operons (involved in nitrogen metabolism), the ilvB operon (involved in biosynthesis of the branched-chain amino acids), and genes for some ABC transporters. Most of the down-regulated genes have been shown previously to belong to a class of genes in Bacillus subtilis whose expression is negatively affected by impaired glucose uptake. Our results lead to the conclusion that excess PrfA (or PrfA*) interferes with a component(s) essential for phosphotransferase system-mediated glucose transport.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3887-3901
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

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