• Atypical Listeria innocua strains possess an intact LIPI-3

      Clayton, Evelyn M; Daly, Karen M.; Guinane, Caitriona M.; Hill, Colin; Cotter, Paul D.; Ross, R Paul; Enterprise Ireland; Science Foundation Ireland; 06/IN.1/B98; 10/IN.1/B3027 (Biomed Central, 08/03/2014)
      Background: Listeria monocytogenes is a food-borne pathogen which is the causative agent of listeriosis and can be divided into three evolutionary lineages I, II and III. While all strains possess the well established virulence factors associated with the Listeria pathogenicity island I (LIPI-1), lineage I strains also possess an additional pathogenicity island designated LIPI-3 which encodes listeriolysin S (LLS), a post-translationally modified cytolytic peptide. Up until now, this pathogenicity island has been identified exclusively in a subset of lineage I isolates of the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. Results: In total 64 L. innocua strains were screened for the presence of LIPI-3. Here we report the identification of an intact LIPI-3 in 11 isolates of L. innocua and the remnants of the cluster in several others. Significantly, we can reveal that placing the L. innocua lls genes under the control of a constitutive promoter results in a haemolytic phenotype, confirming that the cluster is capable of encoding a functional haemolysin. Conclusions: Although the presence of the LIPI-3 gene cluster is confined to lineage I isolates of L. monocytogenes, a corresponding gene cluster or its remnants have been identified in many L. innocua strains.
    • Bioengineered Nisin A Derivatives with Enhanced Activity against Both Gram Positive and Gram Negative Pathogens

      Field, Des; Begley, Maire; O'Connor, Paula M.; Daly, Karen M.; Hugenholtz, Floor; Cotter, Paul D.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Science Foundation Ireland; 10/IN.1/B3027; et al. (PLOS, 08/10/2012)
      Nisin is a bacteriocin widely utilized in more than 50 countries as a safe and natural antibacterial food preservative. It is the most extensively studied bacteriocin, having undergone decades of bioengineering with a view to improving function and physicochemical properties. The discovery of novel nisin variants with enhanced activity against clinical and foodborne pathogens has recently been described. We screened a randomized bank of nisin A producers and identified a variant with a serine to glycine change at position 29 (S29G), with enhanced efficacy against S. aureus SA113. Using a site-saturation mutagenesis approach we generated three more derivatives (S29A, S29D and S29E) with enhanced activity against a range of Gram positive drug resistant clinical, veterinary and food pathogens. In addition, a number of the nisin S29 derivatives displayed superior antimicrobial activity to nisin A when assessed against a range of Gram negative food-associated pathogens, including E. coli, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and Cronobacter sakazakii. This is the first report of derivatives of nisin, or indeed any lantibiotic, with enhanced antimicrobial activity against both Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria.
    • Efficacy of nisin A and nisin V semi-purified preparations alone and in combination with plant essential oils to control Listeria monocytogenes

      Field, Des; Daly, Karen M.; O'Connor, Paula M.; Cotter, Paul D.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Science Foundation Ireland; 10/IN.1/B3027; 06/IN.1/B98 (American Society for Microbiology, 06/02/2015)
      The foodborne pathogenic bacterium Listeria is known for relatively low morbidity and high mortality rates reaching up to 25-30%. Listeria is a hardy organism and its control in foods represents a significant challenge. Many naturally occurring compounds, including the bacteriocin nisin and a number of plant essential oils, have been widely studied and are reported to be effective as antimicrobial agents against spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms. The aim of this study was to investigate the ability of semi-purified preparations (spp) containing either nisin A or an enhanced bioengineered derivative nisin V, alone and in combination with low concentrations of the essential oils thymol, carvacrol and trans-cinnamaldehyde, to control L. monocytogenes in both laboratory media and model food systems. Combinations of nisin V-containing spp (25 μg/ml) with thymol (0.02%), carvacrol (0.02%) or cinnamaldehyde (0.02%) produced a significantly longer lag phase than any of the essential oil/nisin A combinations. In addition, the log reduction in cell counts achieved by the nisin V + carvacrol or nisin V + cinnamaldehyde combinations was twice that of the equivalent nisin A + essential oil treatment. Significantly, this enhanced activity was validated in model food systems against L. monocytogenes strains of food origin. We conclude that the fermentate form of nisin V in combination with carvacrol and cinnamaldehyde offers significant advantages as a novel, natural and effective means to enhance food safety by inhibiting foodborne pathogens such as L. monocytogenes.
    • Listeriolysin S, a Novel Peptide Haemolysin Associated with a Subset of Lineage I Listeria monocytogenes

      Cotter, Paul D.; Draper, Lorraine A.; Lawton, Elaine M.; Daly, Karen M.; Groeger, David S.; Casey, Patrick G.; Ross, R Paul; Hill, Colin; Science Foundation Ireland; 06/IN.1/B98 (PLOS, 12/09/2008)
      Streptolysin S (SLS) is a bacteriocin-like haemolytic and cytotoxic virulence factor that plays a key role in the virulence of Group A Streptococcus (GAS), the causative agent of pharyngitis, impetigo, necrotizing fasciitis and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome. Although it has long been thought that SLS and related peptides are produced by GAS and related streptococci only, there is evidence to suggest that a number of the most notorious Gram-positive pathogenic bacteria, including Listeria monocytogenes, Clostridium botulinum and Staphylococcus aureus, produce related peptides. The distribution of the L. monocytogenes cluster is particularly noteworthy in that it is found exclusively among a subset of lineage I strains; i.e., those responsible for the majority of outbreaks of listeriosis. Expression of these genes results in the production of a haemolytic and cytotoxic factor, designated Listeriolysin S, which contributes to virulence of the pathogen as assessed by murine- and human polymorphonuclear neutrophil–based studies. Thus, in the process of establishing the existence of an extended family of SLS-like modified virulence peptides (MVPs), the genetic basis for the enhanced virulence of a proportion of lineage I L. monocytogenes may have been revealed.