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J Med Microbiol. 2004 Jan;53(Pt 1):13-20.

Survey for virulence determinants among Enterococcus faecalis isolated from different sources.

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  • 1Laboratorio di Batteriologia, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena, 299-00161 Rome, Italy.


A collection of Enterococcus faecalis strains from clinical isolates, healthy individuals and the environment was screened for the presence of virulence factor genes, such as those for collagen-binding protein (ace), endocarditis antigen (efaA), haemolysin activator (cylA), gelatinase (gelE), aggregation substances (asa1 and asa373), a surface protein (esp) and two novel putative surface antigens (EF0591 and EF3314). Apart from some genes that were present in all strains (ace, efaA and EF3314), the gelE gene was the most common factor, although its presence did not correlate with its expression. The genes that encode Esp and CylA were never detected in endocarditis isolates, whereas an association was noted between the esp gene and isolates from urinary tract infection (UTI) and bacteraemia. An aggregation substance gene was always present in commensal strains. As for gelatinase, the presence of the cylA and asa genes did not correlate completely with their phenotypic expression. Generally, isolates from endocarditis, biliary stents and the environment were equipped with fewer virulence factors than isolates from other sources. UTI strains possessed the highest number of factors.

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