Pleiotropic control of Listeria monocytogenes virulence factors by a gene that is autoregulated

Mol Microbiol. 1991 Sep;5(9):2273-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.1991.tb02158.x.


Evidence for pleiotropic activation of virulence genes in Listeria monocytogenes is presented. A complementation study of a spontaneous prfA-deletion mutant and analysis of cassette and transposon insertion mutants showed that the gene prfA activates the transcription of four independent genes which code for a phosphatidyl-inositol-specific phospholipase C (gene plcA), listeriolysin O (gene hlyA), a metallo-protease (gene prtA) and a lecithinase (gene prtC). Transcription of prfA is not constitutive. During the growth phase, two peaks of prfA transcript accumulation were observed: the first was during exponential growth, and the second was at the beginning of the stationary phase. In addition, two prfA-specific transcripts of 2.2 kb and 1 kb are detected. Early in exponential growth, prfA is co-transcribed with plcA which lies upstream prfA, giving rise to the 2.2 kb plcA-prfA transcript. In late-exponential growth and at the beginning of the stationary phase, prfA transcripts of 1 kb are predominantly detected. Our results demonstrate that since prfA controls plcA transcription, it also regulates its own synthesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Toxins*
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromosome Deletion
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • Hemolysin Proteins
  • Listeria monocytogenes / genetics*
  • Listeria monocytogenes / pathogenicity
  • Metalloendopeptidases / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phospholipases / genetics
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Type C Phospholipases / genetics
  • Virulence / genetics*


  • Bacterial Toxins
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Hemolysin Proteins
  • Phospholipases
  • Type C Phospholipases
  • Metalloendopeptidases
  • hlyA protein, Listeria monocytogenes

Associated data

  • GENBANK/S76449
  • GENBANK/S77306
  • GENBANK/S77307
  • GENBANK/X52368
  • GENBANK/X52369
  • GENBANK/X52370
  • GENBANK/X52371
  • GENBANK/X52372
  • GENBANK/X59272
  • GENBANK/X61210