Molecular characterization of Enterococcus spp. clinical isolates from Cairo, Egypt

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Purpose: Enterococci are responsible for serious diseases such as bacteraemia, endocarditis and urinary tract infections. The ability of enterococci to cause such diseases is due to acquisition of certain virulence factors such as haemolysin, gelatinase and enterococcus surface protein. This study has been conducted to investigate the occurrence of virulence factors and resistance to various antibiotics with emphasis on vancomycin in the Enterococcus spp. Materials and Methods: Clinical specimens were collected and isolates were identified by proper microscopic, culture and biochemical tests. Susceptibility and degree of resistance of the isolates to various antibiotics were determined. Virulence factors were examined by phenotypic tests followed by molecular methods. Bioinformatics analysis was used to detect regions in the genomes that might have originated from horizontal gene transfer. Result: The presence or absence of virulence genes did not affect the pattern of antimicrobial resistance in Enterococcus isolates; consequently, no relationship was found between virulence factors and resistance to different antibiotics used. Bioinformatics analysis showed that the virulence genes were mainly transferred by transposons. Conclusion: Among the enterococci, environmental factors may interfere in the expression of virulence factors. Horizontal gene transfer plays an important role in the spread of resistance and virulence genes.

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