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Pathogens and disease

Distribution of antimicrobial resistance determinants, virulence-associated factors and clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeats loci in isolates of Enterococcus faecalis from various settings and genetic lineages.


PMID 28334141

Abstract

Enterococcus faecalis represents an important factor of hospital-associated infections (HAIs). The knowledge on its evolution from a commensal to an opportunistic pathogen is still limited; thus, we performed a study to characterise distribution of factors that may contribute to this adaptation. Using a collection obtained from various settings (hospitalised patients, community carriers, animals, fresh food, sewage, water), we investigated differences in antimicrobial susceptibility, distribution of antimicrobial resistance genes, virulence-associated determinants and phenotypes, and CRISPR loci in the context of the clonal relatedness of isolates. Bayesian Analysis of Population Structure revealed the presence of three major groups; two subgroups comprised almost exclusively HAI isolates, belonging to previously proposed enterococcal high-risk clonal complexes (HiRECCs) 6 and 28. Isolates of these two subgroups were significantly enriched in antimicrobial resistance genes, presumably produced a polysaccharide capsule and often carried the aggregation substance asa1; distribution of other virulence-associated genes, such as esp and cyl, formation of a biofilm and gelatinase production were more variable. Moreover, both subgroups showed a low prevalence of CRISPR-Cas 1 and 3 and presence of small CRISPR2 variants. Our study confirms the importance of HiRECCs in the population of E. faecalis and their confinement to the hospital settings.