July 19, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequences of isolates of Enterococcus faecium sequence type 117, a globally disseminated multidrug-resistant clone.

The emergence of nosocomial infections by multidrug-resistant sequence type 117 (ST117) Enterococcus faecium has been reported in several European countries. ST117 has been detected in Spanish hospitals as one of the main causes of bloodstream infections. We analyzed genome variations of ST117 strains isolated in Madrid and describe the first ST117 closed genome sequences. Copyright © 2017 Tedim et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Safety of the surrogate microorganism Enterococcus faecium NRRL B-2354 for use in thermal process validation.

Enterococcus faecium NRRL B-2354 is a surrogate microorganism used in place of pathogens for validation of thermal processing technologies and systems. We evaluated the safety of strain NRRL B-2354 based on its genomic and functional characteristics. The genome of E. faecium NRRL B-2354 was sequenced and found to comprise a 2,635,572-bp chromosome and a 214,319-bp megaplasmid. A total of 2,639 coding sequences were identified, including 45 genes unique to this strain. Hierarchical clustering of the NRRL B-2354 genome with 126 other E. faecium genomes as well as pbp5 locus comparisons and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) showed that the genotype of this strain is most similar to commensal, or community-associated, strains of this species. E. faecium NRRL B-2354 lacks antibiotic resistance genes, and both NRRL B-2354 and its clonal relative ATCC 8459 are sensitive to clinically relevant antibiotics. This organism also lacks, or contains nonfunctional copies of, enterococcal virulence genes including acm, cyl, the ebp operon, esp, gelE, hyl, IS16, and associated phenotypes. It does contain scm, sagA, efaA, and pilA, although either these genes were not expressed or their roles in enterococcal virulence are not well understood. Compared with the clinical strains TX0082 and 1,231,502, E. faecium NRRL B-2354 was more resistant to acidic conditions (pH 2.4) and high temperatures (60°C) and was able to grow in 8% ethanol. These findings support the continued use of E. faecium NRRL B-2354 in thermal process validation of food products.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genomic analysis of 495 vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium reveals broad dissemination of a vanA plasmid in more than 19 clones from Copenhagen, Denmark.

From 2012 to 2014, there has been a huge increase in vancomycin-resistant (vanA) Enterococcus faecium (VREfm) in Copenhagen, Denmark, with 602 patients infected or colonized with VREfm in 2014 compared with just 22 in 2012. The objective of this study was to describe the genetic epidemiology of VREfm to assess the contribution of clonal spread and horizontal transfer of the vanA transposon (Tn1546) and plasmid in the dissemination of VREfm in hospitals.VREfm from Copenhagen, Denmark (2012-14) were whole-genome sequenced. The clonal structure was determined and the structure of Tn1546-like transposons was characterized. One VREfm isolate belonging to the largest clonal group was sequenced using long-read technology to close a 37 kb vanA plasmid.Phylogeny revealed a polyclonal structure where 495 VREfm isolates were divided into 13 main groups and 7 small groups. The majority of the isolates were located in three groups (n?=?44, 100 and 218) and clonal spread of VREfm between wards and hospitals was identified. Five Tn1546-like transposon types were identified. A dominant truncated transposon (type 4, 92%) was spread across all but one VREfm group. The closed vanA plasmid was highly covered by reads from isolates containing the type 4 transposon.This study suggests that it was the dissemination of the type 4 Tn1546-like transposon and plasmid via horizontal transfer to multiple populations of E. faecium, followed by clonal spread of new VREfm clones, that contributed to the increase in and diversity of VREfm in Danish hospitals.© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.


July 7, 2019  |  

Evolutionary origins of the emergent ST796 clone of vancomycin resistant Enterococcus faecium.

From early 2012, a novel clone of vancomycin resistant Enterococcus faecium (assigned the multi locus sequence type ST796) was simultaneously isolated from geographically separate hospitals in south eastern Australia and New Zealand. Here we describe the complete genome sequence of Ef_aus0233, a representative ST796 E. faecium isolate. We used PacBio single molecule real-time sequencing to establish a high quality, fully assembled genome comprising a circular chromosome of 2,888,087 bp and five plasmids. Comparison of Ef_aus0233 to other E. faecium genomes shows Ef_aus0233 is a member of the epidemic hospital-adapted lineage and has evolved from an ST555-like ancestral progenitor by the accumulation or modification of five mosaic plasmids and five putative prophage, acquisition of two cryptic genomic islands, accrued chromosomal single nucleotide polymorphisms and a 80 kb region of recombination, also gaining Tn1549 and Tn916, transposons conferring resistance to vancomycin and tetracycline respectively. The genomic dissection of this new clone presented here underscores the propensity of the hospital E. faecium lineage to change, presumably in response to the specific conditions of hospital and healthcare environments.


July 7, 2019  |  

RelA mutant Enterococcus faecium with multiantibiotic tolerance arising in an immunocompromised host.

Serious bacterial infections in immunocompromised patients require highly effective antibacterial therapy for cure, and thus, this setting may reveal novel mechanisms by which bacteria circumvent antibiotics in the absence of immune pressure. Here, an infant with leukemia developed vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) bacteremia that persisted for 26 days despite appropriate antibiotic therapy. Sequencing of 22 consecutive VRE isolates identified the emergence of a single missense mutation (L152F) in relA, which constitutively activated the stringent response, resulting in elevated baseline levels of the alarmone guanosine tetraphosphate (ppGpp). Although the mutant remained susceptible to both linezolid and daptomycin in clinical MIC testing and during planktonic growth, it demonstrated tolerance to high doses of both antibiotics when growing in a biofilm. This biofilm-specific gain in resistance was reflected in the broad shift in transcript levels caused by the mutation. Only an experimental biofilm-targeting ClpP-activating antibiotic was able to kill the mutant strain in an established biofilm. The relA mutation was associated with a fitness trade-off, forming smaller and less-well-populated biofilms on biological surfaces. We conclude that clinically relevant relA mutations can emerge during prolonged VRE infection, causing baseline activation of the stringent response, subsequent antibiotic tolerance, and delayed eradication in an immunocompromised state.The increasing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens is a major challenge currently facing the medical community. Such pathogens are of particular importance in immunocompromised patients as these individuals may favor emergence of novel resistance determinants due to lack of innate immune defenses and intensive antibiotic exposure. During the course of chemotherapy, a patient developed prolonged bacteremia with vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium that failed to clear despite multiple front-line antibiotics. The consecutive bloodstream isolates were sequenced, and a single missense mutation identified in the relA gene, the mediator of the stringent response. Strains harboring the mutation had elevated baseline levels of the alarmone and displayed heightened resistance to the bactericidal activity of multiple antibiotics, particularly in a biofilm. Using a new class of compounds that modulate ClpP activity, the biofilms were successfully eradicated. These data represent the first clinical emergence of mutations in the stringent response in vancomycin-resistant entereococci. Copyright © 2017 Honsa et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complex routes of nosocomial vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium transmission revealed by genome sequencing.

Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VREfm) is a leading cause of nosocomial infection. Here, we describe the utility of whole-genome sequencing in defining nosocomial VREfm transmission.A retrospective study at a single hospital in the United Kingdom identified 342 patients with E. faecium bloodstream infection over 7 years. Of these, 293 patients had a stored isolate and formed the basis for the study. The first stored isolate from each case was sequenced (200 VREfm [197 vanA, 2 vanB, and 1 isolate containing both vanA and vanB], 93 vancomycin-susceptible E. faecium) and epidemiological data were collected. Genomes were also available for E. faecium associated with bloodstream infections in 15 patients in neighboring hospitals, and 456 patients across the United Kingdom and Ireland.The majority of infections in the 293 patients were hospital-acquired (n = 249) or healthcare-associated (n = 42). Phylogenetic analysis showed that 291 of 293 isolates resided in a hospital-associated clade that contained numerous discrete clusters of closely related isolates, indicative of multiple introductions into the hospital followed by clonal expansion associated with transmission. Fine-scale analysis of 6 exemplar phylogenetic clusters containing isolates from 93 patients (32%) identified complex transmission routes that spanned numerous wards and years, extending beyond the detection of conventional infection control. These contained both vancomycin-resistant and -susceptible isolates. We also identified closely related isolates from patients at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and regional and national hospitals, suggesting interhospital transmission.These findings provide important insights for infection control practice and signpost areas for interventions. We conclude that sequencing represents a powerful tool for the enhanced surveillance and control of nosocomial E. faecium transmission and infection.


July 7, 2019  |  

Characterization of Class IIa bacteriocin resistance in Enterococcus faecium.

Vancomycin-resistant enterococci, particularly resistant Enterococcus faecium, pose an escalating threat in nosocomial environments because of their innate resistance to many antibiotics, including vancomycin, a treatment of last resort. Many class IIa bacteriocins strongly target these enterococci and may offer a potential alternative for the management of this pathogen. However, E. faecium’s resistance to these peptides remains relatively uncharacterized. Here, we explored the development of resistance of E. faecium to a cocktail of three class IIa bacteriocins: enterocin A, enterocin P, and hiracin JM79. We started by quantifying the frequency of resistance to these peptides in four clinical isolates of E. faecium We then investigated the levels of resistance of E. faecium 6E6 mutants as well as their fitness in different carbon sources. In order to elucidate the mechanism of resistance of E. faecium to class IIa bacteriocins, we completed whole-genome sequencing of resistant mutants and performed reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (qRT-PCR) of a suspected target mannose phosphotransferase (ManPTS). We then verified this ManPTS’s role in bacteriocin susceptibility by showing that expression of the ManPTS in Lactococcus lactis results in susceptibility to the peptide cocktail. Based on the evidence found from these studies, we conclude that, in accord with other studies in E. faecalis and Listeria monocytogenes, resistance to class IIa bacteriocins in E. faecium 6E6 is likely caused by the disruption of a particular ManPTS, which we believe we have identified. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.


July 7, 2019  |  

Whole genome characterization of a naturally occurring vancomycin-dependent Enterococcus faecium from a patient with bacteremia.

Vancomycin-dependent enterococci are a relatively uncommon phenotype recovered in the clinical laboratory. Recognition and recovery of these isolates are important, to provide accurate identification and susceptibility information to treating physicians. Herein, we describe the recovery of a vancomycin-dependent and revertant E. faecium isolates harboring vanB operon from a patient with bacteremia. Using whole genome sequencing, we found a unique single nucleotide polymorphism (S186N) in the D-Ala-D-Ala ligase (ddl) conferring vancomycin-dependency. Additionally, we found that a majority of in vitro revertants mutated outside ddl, with some strains harboring mutations in vanS, while others likely containing novel mechanisms of reversion. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Tracing the Enterococci from Paleozoic origins to the hospital.

We examined the evolutionary history of leading multidrug resistant hospital pathogens, the enterococci, to their origin hundreds of millions of years ago. Our goal was to understand why, among the vast diversity of gut flora, enterococci are so well adapted to the modern hospital environment. Molecular clock estimation, together with analysis of their environmental distribution, phenotypic diversity, and concordance with host fossil records, place the origins of the enterococci around the time of animal terrestrialization, 425-500 mya. Speciation appears to parallel the diversification of hosts, including the rapid emergence of new enterococcal species following the End Permian Extinction. Major drivers of speciation include changing carbohydrate availability in the host gut. Life on land would have selected for the precise traits that now allow pathogenic enterococci to survive desiccation, starvation, and disinfection in the modern hospital, foreordaining their emergence as leading hospital pathogens. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Evaluation of oritavancin dosing strategies against vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium isolates with or without reduced susceptibility to daptomycin in an in vitro pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic model.

Clinical development of nonsusceptibility to the lipopeptide antibiotic daptomycin remains a serious concern during therapy for infections caused by vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VREfm). The long-acting lipoglycopeptide oritavancin exhibits potent in vitro activity against VREfm although its safety and efficacy in treating clinical VREfm infections have not been established. In this study, novel dosing regimens of daptomycin and oritavancin were assessed against both VREfm and daptomycin-nonsusceptible VREfm isolates in an in vitro pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic model. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.


July 7, 2019  |  

RNA-seq and Tn-seq reveal fitness determinants of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium during growth in human serum.

The Gram-positive bacterium Enterococcus faecium is a commensal of the human gastrointestinal tract and a frequent cause of bloodstream infections in hospitalized patients. The mechanisms by which E. faecium can survive and grow in blood during an infection have not yet been characterized. Here, we identify genes that contribute to growth of E. faecium in human serum through transcriptome profiling (RNA-seq) and a high-throughput transposon mutant library sequencing approach (Tn-seq).We first sequenced the genome of E. faecium E745, a vancomycin-resistant clinical isolate, using a combination of short- and long read sequencing, revealing a 2,765,010 nt chromosome and 6 plasmids, with sizes ranging between 9.3 kbp and 223.7 kbp. We then compared the transcriptome of E. faecium E745 during exponential growth in rich medium and in human serum by RNA-seq. This analysis revealed that 27.8% of genes on the E. faecium E745 genome were differentially expressed in these two conditions. A gene cluster with a role in purine biosynthesis was among the most upregulated genes in E. faecium E745 upon growth in serum. The E. faecium E745 transposon mutant library was then used to identify genes that were specifically required for growth of E. faecium in serum. Genes involved in de novo nucleotide biosynthesis (including pyrK_2, pyrF, purD, purH) and a gene encoding a phosphotransferase system subunit (manY_2) were thus identified to be contributing to E. faecium growth in human serum. Transposon mutants in pyrK_2, pyrF, purD, purH and manY_2 were isolated from the library and their impaired growth in human serum was confirmed. In addition, the pyrK_2 and manY_2 mutants were tested for their virulence in an intravenous zebrafish infection model and exhibited significantly attenuated virulence compared to E. faecium E745.Genes involved in carbohydrate metabolism and nucleotide biosynthesis of E. faecium are essential for growth in human serum and contribute to the pathogenesis of this organism. These genes may serve as targets for the development of novel anti-infectives for the treatment of E. faecium bloodstream infections.


July 7, 2019  |  

Tigecycline resistance in clinical isolates of Enterococcus faecium is mediated by an upregulation of plasmid-encoded tetracycline determinants tet(L) and tet(M).

Tigecycline represents one of the last-line therapeutics to combat multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogens, including VRE and MRSA. The German National Reference Centre for Staphylococci and Enterococci has received 73 tigecycline-resistant Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis isolates in recent years. The precise mechanism of how enterococci become resistant to tigecycline remains undetermined. This study documents an analysis of the role of efflux pumps in tigecycline resistance in clinical isolates of Enterococcus spp.Various tigecycline MICs were found for the different isolates analysed. Tigecycline-resistant strains were analysed with respect to genome and transcriptome differences by means of WGS and RT-qPCR. Genes of interest were cloned and expressed in Listeria monocytogenes for verification of their functionality.Detailed comparative whole-genome analyses of three isogenic strains, showing different levels of tigecycline resistance, revealed the major facilitator superfamily (MFS) efflux pump TetL and the ribosomal protection protein TetM as possible drug resistance proteins. Subsequent RT-qPCR confirmed up-regulation of the respective genes. A correlation of gene copy number and level of MIC was inferred from further qPCR analyses. Expression of both tet(L) and tet(M) in L. monocytogenes unequivocally demonstrated the potential to increase tigecycline MICs upon acquisition of either locus.Our results indicate that increased expression of two tetracycline resistance determinants, a tet(L)-encoded MFS pump and a tet(M)-encoded ribosomal protection protein, is capable of conferring tigecycline resistance in enterococcal clinical isolates.© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.


July 7, 2019  |  

Population structure and acquisition of the vanB resistance determinant in German clinical isolates of Enterococcus faecium ST192.

In the context of the global action plan to reduce the dissemination of antibiotic resistances it is of utmost importance to understand the population structure of resistant endemic bacterial lineages and to elucidate how bacteria acquire certain resistance determinants. Vancomycin resistant enterococci represent one such example of a prominent nosocomial pathogen on which nation-wide population analyses on prevalent lineages are scarce and data on how the bacteria acquire resistance, especially of the vanB genotype, are still under debate. With respect to Germany, an increased prevalence of VRE was noted in recent years. Here, invasive infections caused by sequence type ST192 VRE are often associated with the vanB-type resistance determinant. Hence, we analyzed 49 vanB-positive and vanB-negative E. faecium isolates by means of whole genome sequencing. Our studies revealed a distinct population structure and that spread of the Tn1549-vanB-type resistance involves exchange of large chromosomal fragments between vanB-positive and vanB-negative enterococci rather than independent acquisition events. In vitro filter-mating experiments support the hypothesis and suggest the presence of certain target sequences as a limiting factor for dissemination of the vanB element. Thus, the present study provides a better understanding of how enterococci emerge into successful multidrug-resistant nosocomial pathogens.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of Enterococcus faecium commensal isolate E1002.

The emergence of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) has been associated with an increase in multidrug-resistant nosocomial infections. Here, we report the 2.614-Mb genome sequence of the Enterococcus faecium commensal isolate E1002, which will be instrumental in further understanding the determinants of the commensal and pathogenic lifestyle of E. faecium. Copyright © 2016 Tytgat et al.


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