Maria Krasilnikov L&S Sciences
Investigating the Role of Lipoproteins in Listeria monocytogenes Pathogenesis
Listeria monocytogenes is a facultative intracellular bacterial pathogen that is being developed as a vaccine vector. The potential for L. monocytogenes as a vaccine vector stems from its ability to invade host cells and its genetic tractability, which allows us to make mutants that express antigens and are avirulent. However, it has been shown that in some instances infection with L. monocytogenes mutants causes the host to produce IL-10, which is an immunosuppressive cytokine. Thus, we believe that L. monocytogenes has the potential to be an even better vaccine vector if we could get rid of its capabilities to induce IL-10 production. We have discovered that IL-10 production is lowered when the gene coding for the lipoprotein anchor, lgt, is removed. However, it is still unclear whether specific lipoproteins, or all lipoproteins, are involved in the IL-10 induction cycle. My project involves making individual lipoprotein L. monocytogenes mutants and testing their ability to induce IL-10. This project will help us gain an understanding of how L. monocytogenes induces IL-10 in the host and how we can prevent this cycle to create a safer vaccine vector.