You are here

MBio DOI:10.1128/mBio.00318-11

Comparative genomics of enterococci: variation in Enterococcus faecalis, clade structure in E. faecium, and defining characteristics of E. gallinarum and E. casseliflavus.

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsPalmer, KL, Godfrey, P, Griggs, A, Kos, VN, Zucker, J, Desjardins, C, Cerqueira, G, Gevers, D, Walker, S, Wortman, J, Feldgarden, M, Haas, B, Birren, B, Gilmore, MS
Date Published2012
KeywordsAlleles, Bacterial Proteins, Cell Wall, Enterococcus, Evolution, Molecular, Genetic Loci, Genetic Variation, Genome, Bacterial, Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections, Host-Pathogen Interactions, Phylogeny, Polysaccharides, Bacterial, Species Specificity

The enterococci are Gram-positive lactic acid bacteria that inhabit the gastrointestinal tracts of diverse hosts. However, Enterococcus faecium and E. faecalis have emerged as leading causes of multidrug-resistant hospital-acquired infections. The mechanism by which a well-adapted commensal evolved into a hospital pathogen is poorly understood. In this study, we examined high-quality draft genome data for evidence of key events in the evolution of the leading causes of enterococcal infections, including E. faecalis, E. faecium, E. casseliflavus, and E. gallinarum. We characterized two clades within what is currently classified as E. faecium and identified traits characteristic of each, including variation in operons for cell wall carbohydrate and putative capsule biosynthesis. We examined the extent of recombination between the two E. faecium clades and identified two strains with mosaic genomes. We determined the underlying genetics for the defining characteristics of the motile enterococci E. casseliflavus and E. gallinarum. Further, we identified species-specific traits that could be used to advance the detection of medically relevant enterococci and their identification to the species level.


Alternate JournalMBio
PubMed ID22354958
PubMed Central IDPMC3374389
Grant ListAI072360 / AI / NIAID NIH HHS / United States
AI083214 / AI / NIAID NIH HHS / United States
EY007145 / EY / NEI NIH HHS / United States
EY020734 / EY / NEI NIH HHS / United States
F32 EY020734 / EY / NEI NIH HHS / United States
HHSN272200900018C / / PHS HHS / United States
P01 AI083214 / AI / NIAID NIH HHS / United States
R01 AI072360 / AI / NIAID NIH HHS / United States