Listeriolysin O: a phagosome-specific lysin

Microbes Infect. 2007 Aug;9(10):1176-87. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2007.05.005. Epub 2007 May 7.


Listeriolysin O (LLO) is a pore-forming toxin of the cholesterol-dependent cytolysin family and a primary virulence factor of the gram-positive, facultative intracellular pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. During the intracellular life cycle of L. monocytogenes, LLO is largely responsible for mediating rupture of the phagosomal membrane, thereby allowing the bacterium access to the host cytosol, its replicative niche. In the host cytosol, LLO activity is controlled at numerous levels to prevent perforation of the plasma membrane and loss of the intracellular environment. In this review, we focus primarily on the role of LLO in phagosomal escape and the multiple regulatory mechanisms that control LLO activity in the host cytosol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Toxins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Toxins / metabolism
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / chemistry
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / physiology*
  • Hemolysin Proteins / chemistry
  • Hemolysin Proteins / metabolism
  • Hemolysin Proteins / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Listeria monocytogenes / metabolism
  • Listeria monocytogenes / pathogenicity
  • Listeria monocytogenes / physiology*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Phagosomes / metabolism*
  • Virulence Factors / metabolism


  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Hemolysin Proteins
  • Virulence Factors
  • hlyA protein, Listeria monocytogenes