Physiological and transcriptional characterization of persistent and nonpersistent Listeria monocytogenes isolates

Edward M. Fox, Nola Leonard, Kieran Jordan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to characterize physiological differences between persistent and presumed nonpersistent Listeria monocytogenes strains isolated at processing facilities and to investigate the molecular basis for this by transcriptomic sequencing. Full metabolic profiles of two strains, one persistent and one nonpersistent, were initially screened using Biolog's Phenotype MicroArray (PM) technology. Based on these results, in which major differences from selected antimicrobial agents were detected, another persistent strain and two nonpersistent strains were characterized using two antimicrobial PMs. Resistance to quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) was shown to be higher among persistent strains. Growth of persistent and nonpersistent strains in various concentrations of the QACs benzethonium chloride (BZT) and cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) was determined. Transcriptomic sequencing of a persistent and a presumed nonpersistent strain was performed to compare gene expression among these strains in the presence and absence of BZT. Two strains, designated "frequent persisters" because they were the most frequently isolated at the processing facility, showed overall higher resistance to QACs. Transcriptome analysis showed that BZT induced a complex peptidoglycan (PG) biosynthesis response, which may play a key role in BZT resistance. Comparison of persistent and nonpersistent strains indicated that transcription of many genes was upregulated among persistent strains. This included three gene operons: pdu, cob-cbi, and eut. These genes may play a role in the persistence of L. monocytogenes outside the human host.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6559-6569
Number of pages11
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2011
Externally publishedYes


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