The infectious agent of Legionnaires' disease, Legionella (L) pneumophila, multiplies intracellularly in eukaryotic cells. This study has been performed to explore the nutrient requirements of L. pneumophila during intracellular replication. In human monocytes, bacterial replication rate was reduced by 76% in defined medium lacking L-cysteine, L-glutamine or L-serine. SLC1A5 (hATB(0,+)), a neutral amino acid transporter, was upregulated in the host cells after infection with L. pneumophila. Inhibition of SLC1A5 by BCH, a competitive inhibitor of amino acid uptake as well as siRNA silencing of the slc1a5 gene blocked intracellular multiplication of L. pneumophila without compromising viability of host cells. These observations suggest that replication of L. pneumophila depends on the function of host cell SLC1A5.