RNA purification from intracellularly grown listeria monocytogenes in macrophage cells

Nadejda Sigal, Anna Pasechnek, Anat A. Herskovits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Analysis of the transcriptome of bacterial pathogens during mammalian infection is a valuable tool for studying genes and factors that mediate infection. However, isolating bacterial RNA from infected cells or tissues is a challenging task, since mammalian RNA mostly dominates the lysates of infected cells. Here we describe an optimized method for RNA isolation of Listeria monocytogenes bacteria growing within bone marrow derived macrophage cells. Upon infection, cells are mildly lysed and rapidly filtered to discard most of the host proteins and RNA, while retaining intact bacteria. Next, bacterial RNA is isolated using hot phenol-SDS extraction followed by DNase treatment. The extracted RNA is suitable for gene transcription analysis by multiple techniques. This method is successfully employed in our studies of Listeria monocytogenes gene regulation during infection of macrophage cells1-4. The protocol can be easily modified to study other bacterial pathogens and cell types.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere54044
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number112
StatePublished - 4 Jun 2016


  • Bacterial RNA
  • Infected cells
  • Infection
  • Intracellular pathogen
  • Issue 112
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • RNA extraction
  • Transcriptomics


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