Listeria monocytogenes is a human pathogenand a facultative anaerobe. To better understand how
anaerobic growth affects L. monocytogenes pathogenesis, we first showed that anaerobic growth led to decreased growth and changes in surface morphology. Moreover, compared to aerobically grown bacteria, anaerobically grown L. monocytogenes established higher level of invasion but decreased intracellular growth and actin polymerization in cultured cells. The production of listeriolysin O (LLO) was significantly lower in anaerobic cultures—a phenotype observed in wild type and isogenic mutants
lacking transcriptional regulators SigB or CodY or harboring a constitutively active PrfA. To explore potential regulatory mechanisms, we established that the addition of central carbon metabolism intermediates, such as acetate, citrate, fumarate, pyruvate, lactate, and succinate, led to an increase in LLO activity in the anaerobic culture supernatant. These results highlight the regulatory role of central
carbon metabolism in L. monocytogenes pathogenesis under anaerobic conditions.

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