The acquisition of iron during the infection process is essential for the growth of pathogenic microorganisms (S. C. Andrews, Adv. Microb. Physiol. 40:281-351, 1998; H. M. Baker, B. F. Anderson, and E. N. Baker, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 100:3579-3583, 2003). Since the solubility of iron is low and it is toxic at low concentrations, following uptake, iron is stored in subcellular microenvironments in the iron storage protein ferritin (C. Cheers and M. Ho, J. Reticuloendothel. Soc. 34:299-309, 1983). Here, we show that ferritin-like proteins (Frl) are highly conserved in the genus Listeria and demonstrate that these proteins are present in both the cytoplasm and cell wall fractions of these bacteria. Even though Frl is expressed under different growth conditions, transcriptional mapping revealed that its regulation is complex. When bacteria are grown in brain heart infusion medium, extracellular expression involves both sigma A (SigA)- and sigma B (SigB)-dependent promoters; however, during intracellular growth, initiation of transcription is additionally SigB dependent. The expression of Frl is greatly enhanced in bacteria grown in the presence of blood, and a mutant strain lacking the frl gene was defective for growth in this medium. Using the monoclonal antibody (MAb) specific for Frl, we demonstrate that administration of anti-Frl MAb prior to infection confers antilisterial resistance in vivo, evidenced in reduced bacterial load and increased survival rates, thereby demonstrating the in vivo significance of upregulated cell surface-associated Frl expression. In vitro studies revealed that the antilisterial resistance is due to increased listerial phagocytosis. Copyright © 2010, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.