A Transgenic Model for Listeriosis: Role of Internalin in Crossing the Intestinal Barrier

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Science  01 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5522, pp. 1722-1725
DOI: 10.1126/science.1059852

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Listeria monocytogenes is responsible for severe food-borne infections, but the mechanisms by which bacteria cross the intestinal barrier are unknown. Listeria monocytogenes expresses a surface protein, internalin, that interacts with a host receptor, E-cadherin, to promote entry into human epithelial cells. Murine E-cadherin, in contrast to guinea pig E-cadherin, does not interact with internalin, excluding the mouse as a model for addressing internalin function in vivo. In guinea pigs and transgenic mice expressing human E-cadherin, internalin was found to mediate invasion of enterocytes and crossing of the intestinal barrier. These results illustrate how relevant animal models for human infections can be generated.

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