The negative mutant approach was used in this study to identify listerial cytolytic factors involved in cooperative haemolysis (CAMP-like phenomenon) with Staphylococcus aureus and Rhodococcus equi. A Listeria monocytogenes non-haemolytic mutant specifically impaired in listeriolysin O (LLO) production gave no CAMP reaction with S. aureus, and was virtually CAMP-negative with R. equi, indicating that the listerial sulphydryl-activated toxin played a major role in cooperative haemolysis. This was confirmed by direct evidence using purified LLO and alveolysin (from Bacillus alvei) in diffusion CAMP assays. To our knowledge, this is the first evidence of involvement of a sulphydryl-activated toxin in cooperative lytic processes. Phosphatidylcholine- and phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipases C from L. monocytogenes did not seem to significantly contribute to cooperative haemolysis, as the corresponding mutants displayed wild-type CAMP reactions. In contrast, the sphingomyelinase C from Listeria iva-novii was the cytolytic factor responsible for the characteristic shovel-shaped CAMP reaction shown by this listerial species with R. equi. Possible mechanisms of lytic cooperation are discussed.
- Bacterial Toxins
- Heat-Shock Proteins/metabolism
- Hemolysin Proteins/metabolism
- Listeria monocytogenes/pathogenicity
- Rhodococcus equi/pathogenicity
- Sphingomyelin Phosphodiesterase/metabolism
- Staphylococcus aureus/pathogenicity