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Concept: Enterococcus

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Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE) colonization and infection have increased at our hospital, despite adherence to standard VRE control guidelines.

Concepts: Antibiotic resistance, Vancomycin, Enterococcus, Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus

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Five VanN-type vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium strains were isolated from a sample of domestic chicken meat in Japan. All isolates showed low-level resistance to vancomycin (MIC, 12 mg/liter) and had the same pulsed-field gel electrophoresis profile. The vancomycin resistance was encoded on a large plasmid (160 kbp) and was expressed constitutively. The VanN-type resistance operon was identical to the first resistance operon to be reported, with the exception of a 1-bp deletion in vanT(N) and a 1-bp substitution in vanS(N).

Concepts: Antibiotic resistance, Linezolid, Vancomycin, Chicken, Meat, Enterococcus, Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus, Enterococcus faecium

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AIMS: To isolate and characterize bacteriocins produced by predominant species of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) from faeces of elderly subjects. METHODS AND RESULTS: Screening over 70,000 colonies, from faecal samples collected from 266 subjects, using the indicator organisms Lactobacillus bulgaricus LMG 6901 and Listeria innocua DPC 3572, identified 55 antimicrobial-producing bacteria. Genomic fingerprinting following ApaI digestion revealed 15 distinct strains. The antimicrobial activities associated with 13 of the 15 strains were sensitive to protease treatment. The predominant antimicrobial-producing species were identified as Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus gasseri, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus crispatus and Enterococcus spp. A number of previously characterized bacteriocins, including ABP-118 and salivaricin B (from Lb. salivarius), Enterocin B (Ent. faecium), Lactacin B (Lb. acidophilus), Gassericin T and a variant of Gassericin A (Lb. gasseri), were identified. Interestingly, two antimicrobial-producing species, not generally associated with intestinally-derived microorganisms were also isolated: Lactococcus lactis producing Nisin Z and Streptococcus mutans producing Mutacin II. CONCLUSION: These data suggest that bacteriocin production by intestinal isolates against our chosen targets under the screening conditions used was not frequent (0.08%). © 2012The Authors Journal of Applied Microbiology © 2012 The Society for Applied Microbiology.

Concepts: Bacteria, Gut flora, Microbiology, Streptococcus, Lactobacillus, Enterococcus, Firmicutes, Lactic acid bacteria

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Background: Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) is the main typing method used for the molecular typing of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VREfm). However, more rapid and unambiguous typing methods are needed. DiversiLab, a repetitive sequence-based PCR (rep-PCR), offers an alternative method for strain typing. Methods: Thirty-nine VREfm isolates with known epidemiological relationships were characterized by semi-automated rep-PCR (DiversiLab), PFGE, and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). Results: The DiversiLab results were analysed in 2 ways: first relying solely on the DiversiLab software, and second by DiversiLab analysis combined with manual interpretation. The analysis with interpretation yielded more DiversiLab profiles, correlated better with PFGE and MLST, and grouped the isolates better according to their relatedness in time and space. However, most of the DiversiLab groups also included isolates with different PFGE and MLST types. Conclusions: DiversiLab provides rapid information when investigating a potential hospital outbreak. However, the interpretation of E. faecium DiversiLab results cannot be fully automated and is not always straightforward. Other typing methods may be necessary to confirm the analysis.

Concepts: Polymerase chain reaction, Molecular biology, Gel electrophoresis, Capillary electrophoresis, Electrophoresis, Enterococcus, Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus, Enterococcus faecium

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This study evaluated the cholesterol-lowering property of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) isolated from mink. Two strains, Enterococcus faecium MDF1104 and Lactobacillus plantarum MDL1118, were shown to remove cholesterol from broths of natural hen egg yolk and skimmed milk. The cholesterol in hen egg yolk was reduced by 58.15% and 38% by L. plantarum and E. faecium, respectively. When the bacteria were used in combination, 48.95% (p < 0.01) of cholesterol was removed from skimmed milk. Experimental mice remained healthy when fed different doses of the LAB, and the total serum cholesterol concentration was the lowest (0.90 mmol/L) (p < 0.01) when a combination of L. plantarum and E. faecium was used. Based on our results, we suggest that L. plantarum MDL1118, E. faecium MDF1104, or a combination of the 2 strains could be considered as promising cholesterol-lowering probiotics.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, In vivo, Lactic acid, Lactobacillus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Enterococcus, Egg yolk

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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

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The distribution characteristics of Enterococcus spp., which are indicators of fecal pollution, were investigated at 33 sites within the 3 major water systems of Korea. Enterococci were detected at concentrations ranging from 1 to 37 CFU/100mL in 41 of 132 samples (31.1%) from the 3 major water systems. The overall average detected concentration was 1.2 CFU/100mL, while the average concentration for all detection sites was 5.3 CFU/100mL. After optimized multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed with newly developed VanA, VanB, VanC-1, and VanC-2/3 primers, concentrations of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus spp. (VRE) ranging from 1 to 23 CFU/100mL were detected in 17 of 132 samples (12.9%). Of 216 individual enterococcal colonies, 64 (29.6%) displayed the VanC genotype. The results of a susceptibility test to vancomycin showed that the range of the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC), an indicator of bacterial resistance, was 4 to 24μg/mL, with the average MIC at 9.2±4.5μg/mL. Of the bacterial isolates, 1 colony with the VanC-1 genotype was identified as E. gallinarum by 16S rDNA sequencing, whereas the other 63 colonies had the VanC-2/3 genotype and were identified as E. casseliflavus. Although these results imply that the major head bays of Korea are not contaminated with the highly vancomycin-resistant VanA- or VanB-type VREs, the misuse of antibiotics should be prohibited to minimize the presence of VREs and to maintain a safe water supply for protecting the health of the general population. Based on the study results, we also recommend the implementation of a continuous, broad-spectrum inspection program for Enterococcus spp. and VRE contamination in the major head bays. Furthermore, the multiplex PCR method described in this study can be used effectively for this purpose.

Concepts: DNA, Polymerase chain reaction, Molecular biology, Antibiotic resistance, Vancomycin, Enterococcus, Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus, Thermus aquaticus

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A study was conducted to isolate bacterial species/pathogens from the nasal cavity of apparently healthy and pneumonic sheep. Nasal swabs were collected aseptically, transported in tryptose soya broth and incubated for 24 h. Then, each swab was streaked onto chocolate and blood agar for culture. Bacterial species were identified following standard bacteriological procedures. Accordingly, a total of 1,556 bacteria were isolated from 960 nasal swabs collected from three different highland areas of Ethiopia, namely Debre Berhan, Asella, and Gimba. In Debre Berhan, 140 Mannheimia haemolytica, 81 Histophilus somni, 57 Staphylococcus species, and 52 Bibersteinia trehalosi were isolated. While from Gimba M. haemolytica, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and H. somni were isolated at rates of 25.2, 15.9, 11.4, and 5.9 %, respectively, of the total 647 bacterial species. In Asella from 352 bacterial species isolated, 93 (26.4 %) were M. haemolytica, 48 (13.6 %) were Staphylococcus species, 26 (7.4 %) were B. trehalosi, and 17 (4.8 %) H. somni were recognized. Further identification and characterization using BIOLOG identification system Enterococcus avium and Sphingomonas sanguinis were identified at 100 % probability, while, H. somni and Actinobacillus lignerisii were suggested by the system. The study showed that a variety of bacterial species colonize the nasal cavity of the Ethiopian highland sheep with variable proportion between healthy and pneumonic ones. To our knowledge, this is the first report on isolation of H. somni, an important pathogen in cattle, from the respiratory tract of a ruminant species in the country.

Concepts: Bacteria, Ethiopia, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Respiratory system, Enterococcus, Firmicutes, History of Ethiopia

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Antibiotic resistance among enterococci and γ-proteobacteria is an increasing problem in healthcare settings. Dense colonization of the gut by antibiotic-resistant bacteria facilitates their spread between patients and also leads to bloodstream and other systemic infections. Antibiotic-mediated destruction of the intestinal microbiota and consequent loss of colonization resistance are critical factors leading to persistence and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The mechanisms underlying microbiota-mediated colonization resistance remain incompletely defined and are likely distinct for different antibiotic-resistant bacterial species. It is unclear whether enterococci or γ-proteobacteria, upon expanding to high density in the gut, confer colonization resistance against competing bacterial species. Herein, we demonstrate that dense intestinal colonization with vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) does not reduce in vivo growth of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae. Reciprocally, K. pneumoniae does not impair intestinal colonization by VRE. In contrast, transplantation of a diverse fecal microbiota eliminates both VRE and K. pneumoniae from the gut. Fluorescence in situ hybridization demonstrates that VRE and K. pneumoniae localize to the same regions in the colon but differ with respect to stimulation and invasion of the colonic mucus layer. While VRE and K. pneumoniae occupy the same three-dimensional space within the gut lumen, their independent growth and persistence in the gut suggests that they reside in distinct niches that satisfy their specific in vivo metabolic needs.

Concepts: Bacteria, Antibiotic resistance, Escherichia coli, Linezolid, Vancomycin, Microorganism, Enterococcus, Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus

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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