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Indian J Med Microbiol. 2008 Jul-Sep;26(3):248-51.

Assessment of pheromone response in biofilm forming clinical isolates of high level gentamicin resistant Enterococcus faecalis.

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Department of Biotechnology, PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore - 641 004, Tamil Nadu, India.


Twenty five clinical isolates of high level gentamicin resistant Enterococcus faecalis were tested for their biofilm formation and pheromone responsiveness. The biofilm assay was carried out using microtiter plate method. Two isolates out of the 25 (8%) were high biofilm formers and 19 (76%) and four (16%) isolates were moderate and weak biofilm formers respectively. All the isolates responded to pheromones of E. faecalis FA2-2 strain. On addition of pheromone producing E. faecalis FA2-2 strain to these isolates, seven of 19 (37%) moderate biofilm formers developed into high biofilm formers. Similarly one of the 4 (25%) weak biofilm formers developed into high level biofilm former. Twelve (48%) of the 25 isolates were transconjugated by cross streak method using gentamicin as selective marker. This proves that the genetic factor for gentamicin resistance is present in the pheromone responsive plasmid. Among these twelve transaconjugants, seven isolates and one isolate were high biofilm formers on addition of E. faecalis FA2-2 and prior to its addition respectively. Out of the total 25 isolates, eight transconjugants for gentamicin resistance could turn to high biofilm formers on addition of the pheromone producing strain. All the isolates were resistant to more than two antibiotics tested. All the isolates were sensitive to vancomycin. The results indicate the significance of this nosocomial pathogen in biofilm formation and the role of pheromone responding clinical isolates of E. faecalis in spread of multidrug resistance genes.

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