A gut bacterium called Listeria (Listeria monocytogenes), which is often found in soft cheese, is known to present a risk to pregnant women. Listeria uses distinct tactics to breach the intestine and the placenta, using a protein called phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3-K), according to a study published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine.
In this image of tissue from the intestinal wall of healthy mice, PI3-K is detectable (green) along with the presence of internalin A receptors (red).
Credit:Gessain et al., 2015
PI3-kinase activation is critical for host barrier permissiveness to Listeria monocytogenes Gessain, G., et al. 2015. J. Exp. Med. doi:10.1084/jem.20141406