REALIS: Postgenomic Analysis of Listeria monocytogenes
Listeria monocytogenes is a remarkably successful food-borne pathogen. It is capable a) of surviving and proliferating under conditions that exist within the food chain, such as at low temperatures, high salt and low pH and b) of colonizing animal host tissues after ingestion of contaminated food, causing opportunistic infections mainly, but not exclusively, in immunocompromised hosts. The ultimate goals of REALIS are two fold: Firstly, it aims to completely decipher all genes required for survival in and adaptation of Listeria monocytogenes to two very different environments, ie., the infected host and the external environment. Secondly, using genomics and postgenomic tools, REALIS seeks to precisely address fundamental questions regarding evolutionary relationships between pathogenic and non-pathogenic Listeria and to define qualities of particularly successful clonal pathovariants in causing disease. This project will provide both industry and health care managers with rational approaches to curbing food-borne contamination, minimising risks of infection and providing novel pharmacological approaches for halting the fulminant course of infection.