Whole genome-based population biology and epidemiological surveillance of Listeria monocytogenes

Alexandra Moura, Alexis Criscuolo, Hannes Pouseele, Mylène M. Maury, Alexandre Leclercq, Cheryl Tarr, Jonas T. Björkman, Timothy Dallman, Aleisha Reimer, Vincent Enouf, Elise Larsonneur, Heather Carleton, Hélène Bracq-Dieye, Lee S. Katz, Louis Jones, Marie Touchon, Mathieu Tourdjman, Matthew Walker, Steven Stroika, Thomas CantinelliViviane Chenal-Francisque, Zuzana Kucerova, Eduardo P.C. Rocha, Celine Nadon, Kathie Grant, Eva M. Nielsen, Bruno Pot, Peter Gerner-Smidt, Marc Lecuit, Sylvain Brisse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

293 Citations (Scopus)


Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) is a major human foodborne pathogen. Numerous Lm outbreaks have been reported worldwide and associated with a high case fatality rate, reinforcing the need for strongly coordinated surveillance and outbreak control. We developed a universally applicable genome-wide strain genotyping approach and investigated the population diversity of Lm using 1,696 isolates from diverse sources and geographical locations. We define, with unprecedented precision, the population structure of Lm, demonstrate the occurrence of international circulation of strains and reveal the extent of heterogeneity in virulence and stress resistance genomic features among clinical and food isolates. Using historical isolates, we show that the evolutionary rate of Lm from lineage I and lineage II is low (∼2.5 × 10-7 substitutions per site per year, as inferred from the core genome) and that major sublineages (corresponding to so-called epidemic clones') are estimated to be at least 50-150 years old. This work demonstrates the urgent need to monitor Lm strains at the global level and provides the unified approach needed for global harmonization of Lm genome-based typing and population biology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16185
JournalNature Microbiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.


Dive into the research topics of 'Whole genome-based population biology and epidemiological surveillance of Listeria monocytogenes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this