The expression of the five clustered genes of Listeria monocytogenes: plcA, hly, mpl, actA and plcB is under the control of the positive regulation factor PrfA. Listeriolysin, encoded by the hly gene, is the only prominent PrfA-controlled gene product observed when L. monocytogenes strain NCTC 7973 is cultured in a rich medium at 37 degrees C to the logarithmic growth phase. Stress conditions such as heat-shock or stationary culture conditions lead to the induction of additional PrfA-dependent proteins (PdPs): ActA (92 kDa), a 38 kDa protein of unknown function and a 34 kDa protein which probably represents PlcA. Under nutrient-stress conditions PdPs are preferentially synthesized and in addition to the already known PdPs at least five new, not yet functionally identified PdPs are detected. All PdPs are either secreted or are localized at the cell surface. Differences in the amount as well as the sizes of the PdPs are observed in different L. monocytogenes strains.