Biological Effects of Listeriolysin O: Implications for Vaccination

Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:360741. doi: 10.1155/2015/360741. Epub 2015 Mar 22.


Listeriolysin O (LLO) is a thiol-activated cholesterol-dependent pore-forming toxin and the major virulence factor of Listeria monocytogenes (LM). Extensive research in recent years has revealed that LLO exerts a wide array of biological activities, during the infection by LM or by itself as recombinant antigen. The spectrum of biological activities induced by LLO includes cytotoxicity, apoptosis induction, endoplasmic reticulum stress response, modulation of gene expression, intracellular calcium oscillations, and proinflammatory activity. In addition, LLO is a highly immunogenic toxin and the major target for innate and adaptive immune responses in different animal models and humans. Recently, the crystal structure of LLO has been published in detail. Here, we review the structure-function relationship for this fascinating microbial molecule, highlighting the potential uses of LLO in the fields of biomedicine and biotechnology, particularly in vaccination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Toxins* / chemistry
  • Bacterial Toxins* / immunology
  • Heat-Shock Proteins* / chemistry
  • Heat-Shock Proteins* / immunology
  • Hemolysin Proteins* / chemistry
  • Hemolysin Proteins* / immunology
  • Humans
  • Listeria monocytogenes* / chemistry
  • Listeria monocytogenes* / immunology
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Vaccination*


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