• biological properties;
  • homologous recombination;
  • hly gene;
  • Listeria monocytogenes;
  • mutant strain;
  • Th1 response


Listeria monocytogenes is a food-borne pathogen able to cause serious disease in human and animals. Listeriolysin O (LLO), a major virulence factor secreted by this bacterium, is a vacuole-specific lysin that facilitates bacterial entrance into the host cytosol. Thus, LLO plays a key role in the translocation and intracellular spread of L. monocytogenes. To study the effect of LLO on virulence and immunopotency, a LLO-deficient L. monocytogenes mutant was constructed using a shuttle vector followed by homologous recombination. The mutant strain had lost hemolytic activity, which resulted in an extremely reduced virulence, 5 logs lower than that of the parent strain, yzuLM4, in BALB/c mice. The number of bacteria detected in the spleens and livers of mice infected with the mutant was greatly reduced, and the bacteria were rapidly eliminated by the host. Kinetics studies in this murine model of infection showed that the invasion ability of the mutant strain was much lower than that of the parent strain. Moreover, immunization with the mutant strain conferred protective immunity against listerial infection. In particular, stimulation with Ag85B240-259, strong specific Th1 type cellular immunity was elicited by vaccination C57BL/6 mice with hly deficient strain delivering Mycobacterium tuberculosis fusion antigen Ag85B-ESAT-6 via intravenous inoculation. These results clearly show that highly attenuated LLO-deficient L. monocytogenes is an attractive vaccine carrier for delivering heterologous antigens.