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Concept: Enterococcus faecalis


Despite the increasing importance of Enterococcus as opportunistic pathogens, their virulence factors are still poorly understood. This study determines the frequency of virulence factors in clinical and commensal Enterococcus isolates from inpatients in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Fifty Enterococcus isolates were analysed and the presence of the gelE, asa1 and esp genes was determined. Gelatinase activity and biofilm formation were also tested. The clonal relationships among the isolates were evaluated using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. The asa1, gelE and esp genes were identified in 38%, 60% and 76% of all isolates, respectively. The first two genes were more prevalent in Enterococcus faecalis than in Enterococcus faecium, as was biofilm formation, which was associated with gelE and asa1 genes, but not with the esp gene. The presence of gelE and the activity of gelatinase were not fully concordant. No relationship was observed among any virulence factors and specific subclones of E. faecalis or E. faecium resistant to vancomycin. In conclusion, E. faecalis and E. faecium isolates showed significantly different patterns of virulence determinants. Neither the source of isolation nor the clonal relationship or vancomycin resistance influenced their distribution.

Concepts: Protein, Bacteria, Antibiotic resistance, Linezolid, Vancomycin, Enterococcus, Enterococcus faecium, Enterococcus faecalis


We studied the vanA-carrying vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) isolated from American crows in the United States during the winter 2011/2012. Faecal samples from crows were cultured selectively for VRE and characterized. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) were used to examine epidemiological relationships of vanA-containing VRE. Isolates were tested in vitro for their ability to horizontally transfer the vancomycin resistance trait. VRE with the vanA gene were found in 15 (2.5%) of 590 crows samples, from which we obtained 22 different isolates. Enterococcal species were Enterococcus faecium (14) and E. faecalis (8). One, two and 19 isolates originated from Kansas, New York State and Massachusetts, respectively. Based on MLST analysis, E. faecium isolates were grouped as ST18 (6 isolates), ST555 (2), and novel types ST749 (1), ST750 (3), ST751 (1), ST752 (1). Enterococcus faecalis isolates belonged to ST6 (1), ST16 (3) and ST179 (4). All isolates were able to transfer the vancomycin resistance trait via filter mating with very high transfer range. Clinically important enterococci with the vanA gene occur in faeces of wild American crows throughout the United States. These migrating birds may contribute to the dissemination of VRE in environment over large distances. [Correction added after first online publication on 06 August 2013: The number of E. faecium ST752 isolate is now amended to ‘1’, consistent with that shown in the ‘Results’ section and Figure 2.].

Concepts: United States, Antibiotic resistance, Linezolid, Vancomycin, Enterococcus, Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus, Enterococcus faecium, Enterococcus faecalis


To evaluate the antimicrobial effect of a diode laser irradiation, photo-activated disinfection (PAD), conventional and sonic activated irrigation with 2.5% sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) on Enterococcus faecalis.

Concepts: Hydrogen peroxide, Laser diode, Chlorine, Disinfectant, Hypochlorous acid, Sodium hypochlorite, Enterococcus faecalis, Bleach


To determine the viability of Enterococcus faecalis in infected human root dentine in vitro after exposure to root canal medicaments based on chlorhexidine and octenidine.

Concepts: Enterococcus faecalis


The antiviral activities of Artocarpus lakoocha (A. lakoocha) extract have been reported in a number of studies; however, data regarding its antibacterial capability are limited. The aim of the present study was to examine the effectiveness of A. lakoocha extract, poloxamer 407, on Enterococcus faecalis (E. faecalis).

Concepts: Present, Enterococcus faecalis


The genetic bases for antibiotic tolerance are obscure. Daptomycin (DAP) is a lipopeptide antibiotic with bactericidal activity against enterococci. Using time-kill assays, we provide evidence for the first time that a deletion of isoleucine in position 177 of LiaF, a member of the three-component regulatory system LiaFSR involved in the cell-envelope response to antimicrobials, is directly responsible for a DAP-tolerant phenotype and is likely to negatively affect response to DAP therapy.

Concepts: Antibiotic resistance, Vancomycin, Enterococcus, Enterococcus faecalis, Lactobacillales, Antibiotics


Multidrug-resistant Enterococcus faecalis possess numerous mobile elements that encode virulence and antibiotic resistance traits as well as new metabolic pathways, often constituting over one-quarter of the genome. It was of interest to determine how this large accretion of mobile elements affects competitive growth in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract consortium. We unexpectedly observed that the prototype clinical isolate strain V583 was actively killed by GI tract flora, whereas commensal enterococci flourished. It was found that killing of V583 resulted from lethal cross-talk between accumulated mobile elements and that this cross-talk was induced by a heptapeptide pheromone produced by native E. faecalis present in the fecal consortium. These results highlight two important aspects of the evolution of multidrug-resistant enterococci: (i) the accretion of mobile elements in E. faecalis V583 renders it incompatible with commensal strains, and (ii) because of this incompatibility, multidrug-resistant strains sharing features found in V583 cannot coexist with commensal strains. The accumulation of mobile elements in hospital isolates of enterococci can include those that are inherently incompatible with native flora, highlighting the importance of maintaining commensal populations as means of preventing colonization and subsequent infection by multidrug-resistant strains.

Concepts: Bacteria, Antibiotic resistance, Enterococcus, Enterococcus faecalis


Enterococci are important human commensals and significant opportunistic pathogens. Biofilm-related enterococcal infections, such as endocarditis, urinary tract infections, wound and surgical site infections, and medical device-associated infections, often become chronic upon the formation of biofilm. The biofilm matrix establishes properties that distinguish this state from free-living bacterial cells and increase tolerance to antimicrobial interventions. The metabolic versatility of the enterococci is reflected in the diversity and complexity of environments and communities in which they thrive. Understanding metabolic factors governing colonization and persistence in different host niches can reveal factors influencing the transition to biofilm pathogenicity. Here, we report a form of iron-dependent metabolism for Enterococcus faecalis where, in the absence of heme, extracellular electron transfer (EET) and increased ATP production augment biofilm growth. We observe alterations in biofilm matrix depth and composition during iron-augmented biofilm growth. We show that the ldh gene encoding l-lactate dehydrogenase is required for iron-augmented energy production and biofilm formation and promotes EET.IMPORTANCE Bacterial metabolic versatility can often influence the outcome of host-pathogen interactions, yet causes of metabolic shifts are difficult to resolve. The bacterial biofilm matrix provides the structural and functional support that distinguishes this state from free-living bacterial cells. Here, we show that the biofilm matrix can immobilize iron, providing access to this growth-promoting resource which is otherwise inaccessible in the planktonic state. Our data show that in the absence of heme, Enterococcus faecalis l-lactate dehydrogenase promotes EET and uses matrix-associated iron to carry out EET. Therefore, the presence of iron within the biofilm matrix leads to enhanced biofilm growth.

Concepts: Bacteria, Metabolism, Adenosine triphosphate, Streptococcus, Lactic acid, Lactate dehydrogenase, Enterococcus, Enterococcus faecalis


Methods to rapidly assess cell growth would be useful for many applications, including drug susceptibility testing, but current technologies have limited sensitivity or throughput. Here we present an approach to precisely and rapidly measure growth rates of many individual cells simultaneously. We flow cells in suspension through a microfluidic channel with 10-12 resonant mass sensors distributed along its length, weighing each cell repeatedly over the 4-20 min it spends in the channel. Because multiple cells traverse the channel at the same time, we obtain growth rates for >60 cells/h with a resolution of 0.2 pg/h for mammalian cells and 0.02 pg/h for bacteria. We measure the growth of single lymphocytic cells, mouse and human T cells, primary human leukemia cells, yeast, Escherichia coli and Enterococcus faecalis. Our system reveals subpopulations of cells with divergent growth kinetics and enables assessment of cellular responses to antibiotics and antimicrobial peptides within minutes.

Concepts: Immune system, Protein, Bacteria, Antibiotic resistance, Escherichia coli, Biotechnology, Leukemia, Enterococcus faecalis


Food handlers are important sources of contamination in the agricultural environment. This study was conducted (i) to evaluate the activity of antimicrobial soaps against Escherichia coli and Enterococcus faecalis using a hand washing model with soiled hands and (ii) to determine the survival and persistence of these bacteria in rinsates. Sterilized agricultural soil from tomato and pepper farms was inoculated with E. coli or E. faecalis at 10(3) or 10(6) CFU/g. Decontaminated hands were placed in contact with contaminated soil for 2 min and were then washed with soaps with or without antimicrobial compounds (citric extracts, chloroxylenol, triclosan, or chlorhexidine gluconate). As the control, hands were washed with sterile distilled water. The levels of bacteria remaining on the hands and recovered from the rinsates were determined using a membrane filtration method and selective media. Antimicrobial soaps removed levels of E. coli similar to those removed by distilled water and nonantimicrobial soap on hands contaminated with E. coli at 10(3) CFU/g. However, when hands were contaminated with E. coli at 10(6) CFU/g, more E. coli was removed with the chlorhexidine gluconate soap. When hands were contaminated with E. faecalis at 10(3) CFU/g, bacteria were removed more effectively with soaps containing chloroxylenol or chlorhexidine gluconate. When hands were contaminated with E. faecalis at 10(6) CFU/g, all of the antimicrobial soaps were more effective for removing the bacteria than were distilled water and nonantimicrobial soap. E. coli grew in all of the hand washing rinsates except that containing triclosan, whereas E. faecalis from the 10(6) CFU/g treatments grew in rinsates containing chlorhexidine gluconate and in the distilled water rinsates. Washing with antimicrobial soap was more effective for reducing bacteria on soiled hands than was washing with water or nonantimicrobial soap. However, persistence or growth of bacteria in these rinsates poses health risks.

Concepts: Bacteria, Gut flora, Antibiotic resistance, Escherichia coli, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Proteobacteria, Enterococcus faecalis, Distilled water